Sunday, March 16, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Immigrant (1917)

The Immigrant is considered to be one of Charlie Chaplin’s most famous and well know films. Like many of his films the story is endearing and sweet.
            Chaplin’s Tramp character is on board a ship heading to America with several other immigrants. On board is a young woman played by Edna Purviance. She is traveling with her mother. Pruviance walks away from her mother for a few moments and her mother is robbed while she is sleeping. Chaplin plays a poker game with some of the other ship inhabitants and wins. He is pushed onto where Purviance and her mother are sitting. She tells Chaplin that her mother was robbed and they have no money. Chaplin decides to help Purviance out by giving her some of his winnings.
            Cold and hungry in a new city, Chaplin finds a coin on the ground in front of a restaurant. He goes in and hysterically has a bowl of beans, coffee, and a large piece of bread. He sees Purviance sitting near him and has her come over and buys her food. At the end of the meal Chaplin realizes he does not have the coin anymore it fell out of his coat. He looks up and sees a man getting beat up and kicked out of the restaurant for being short ten cents. Chaplin tries his hardest to avoid paying.
            A man comes over from another table. He tells Chaplin and Purviance he is an artist and would like to paint them. The artist offers to pay for his mean but for some reason Chaplin does not let him. He eventually pays his bill by paying with the tip the artist had intended to give the waiter.
            When Chaplin and Purviance leave the restaurant with the artist, Chaplin asks for an advance. The artist pays them and with that money Chaplin pays for a wedding license.
            The Immigrant is more like two films in one. The first one is when he is on the ship heading to America and the second is the restaurant scene that really has nothing to do with the first except for Edna Purviance. That, to me, does not matter. The story is adorable and sweet. This is the first time I have ever watched a Charlie Chaplin film with Edna Purviance. She was Chaplin’s leading lady in his earliest films and after she retired he kept her on his studio’s payroll until she died. You can see Chaplin and Purviance’s chemistry. You can see they adored each and respected each other. The Immigrant is a short film at twenty minutes long. I highly suggest watching it.  

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