The Idle Class

The Idle Class ★★★★

Part of my Roaring Twenties Project

It's summer time and loads of vacationers disembark from a train at a resort community, including the Tramp (writer-director Charlie Chaplin), who has stowed away in an equipment compartment. He's brought along his golf clubs for a relaxing round at the links, punctuated by all the slapstick we've come to know and love from the endearing vagabond.

Elsewhere at the resort, a neglected wife named Edna (Edna Purviance) is angry at her husband (also Chaplin) for not meeting her at the train station. To say he's absent-minded would be a gross understatement, as he's quite capable of forgetting to put on his trousers before going outside.

While on the golf course, the Tramp spots Edna out riding a horse and he fantasizes what it might be like to marry her. At a fancy dress ball that evening, Edna's husband comes as a knight in shining armor, but the visor on his helmet gets stuck so nobody can recognize him. Meanwhile, the Tramp comes as a tramp, of course.

The gags and skits are flawless, but one also has to appreciate the detail Chaplin brings to his silent comedy, such as wiping the sweat from his helmeted head with a gloved hand and how he fiddles with his pocket watch when nervous. It's pure genius.

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