The Floorwalker 1916: One of The Best Charlie Chaplin’s Mutual short comedies
“The Floorwalker” is one of Charlie Chaplin’s Mutual short comedies, featuring Edna Purviance, a star of Silent Hall of Fame.
An impecunious customer creates chaos in a department store while the manager. And his assistant plot to steal the money kept in the establishment’s safe.
The Floorwalker (Sac Lo: Kiep Cu Li), Chaplin’s first film under his landmark contract with Lone Star-Mutual, has embezzlement as its subject. Chaplin’s inspiration for the film came while he and his brother Sydney were in New York City negotiating his contract with Mutual. While walking up Sixth Avenue at Thirty-third Street. Chaplin saw a man fall down an escalator serving the adjacent elevated train station. And at once realized the comic possibilities of a moving staircase.
He asked his technical director, Ed Brewer, to design and construct an escalator in a department store set designed by art director George (Scotty) Cleethorpe. “With a bare notion I would order sets. And during the building of them the art director would come to me for details. And I would bluff and give them particulars about where I wanted doors and archways”. Charlie Chaplin wrote in his autobiography, “In this desperate way I started many a comedy.” After seeing The Floorwalker, Mack Sennett commented. “Why the hell didn’t we ever think of a running staircase?”
The Floorwalker has none of the pathos, romance, or irony of the best Chaplin Mutuals (phim hai Sac Lo). The crudeness and cruelty of his earlier films is still evident in The Floorwalker. Although the film contains a stronger plot than most of his previous films. And the moving-staircase chase was novel for 1916. A glimpse of Chaplin’s evolution to a more graceful type of screen comedy is evident in Charlie’s dance when he discovers the valise of stolen money and dives into the bag. Audiences were amazed and delighted by Chaplin’s brilliant antics. Yet he was determined to develop a new dimension to film comedy. The beginnings of which evolve in his third Mutual release, The Vagabond.