The Idle Class

The Idle Class ★★★★

A precursor to Trading Places. It's always a pleasure to see universal storylines we're familiar with today being doing back in the silent era. Comparing how the story's tackled and how social norms affect the presentation is so fun.

My favorite is when, if I'm not mistaken, there's a masturbation joke. Chaplin as the rich man is a lonely husband and after viewing a picture of his wife makes a motion of jerking off with his back to the camera, only to turn around and reveal he's mixing a drink. He even looks straight into the camera with an embarrassed expression. I about fell out of my chair. It's something we've seen maybe dozens of times at this point but wow seeing it done in 1921 was something else.

It's definitely one of the more memorable Chaplin shorts and one of the best.