Measured Timing and Gags

A Night Out
R: Charles Chaplin. B: Charles Chaplin. K: William C. Foster, Harry Ensign. D: Charles Chaplin, Charles Allen Dealey, Edna Purviance, Bud Jamison, Ben Turpin, Leo White, Frank Dolan. P: Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1915

Chaplin’s second film for Essanay was the first of five films shot in and around the company’s Niles studio in northern California. The plot is a variation of the teaming of Chaplin and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle in the Keystone film, The Rounders (1914). This time he is paired with Ben Turpin. In the film Chaplin forms an excellent comedy partnership. Chaplin and Turpin are drunks about town, starting at a café and ending in a risqué hotel room mix-up with a pretty girl, similar to the situation in the Keystone comedy Caught in the Rain (1914), yet this time with Edna Purviance, in her first film with Chaplin.”
Charlie Chaplin

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“This is one of the early films Charlie Chaplin made at Essanay Studios during his year there after he left Keystone. It has many of the familiar elements from Keystone – men with silly facial hair, women who seem to enjoy flirting with transients, a dull-witted policeman, a large jealous husband, hotels and bar rooms, and a world populated with people with a propensity for solving problems with physical violence – but has more measured timing and use of the individual gags, plus a much longer run time than most of the shorts he did there. (…) One thing Charlie did do was take the time to elaborate some of his gags, which he wouldn’t have done at the faster pace. For example there’s a sequence in the hotel room where Charlie has drunkenly confused the phone with a water dispenser, and keeps trying to pour into his cup from it. That’s the sort of little touch that rarely made it into a Keystone. On the whole, though, it isn’t up to the level of later ‘feature-length’ work like Burlesque on Carmen, nor even the sustained zaniness of The Tramp.”
Century Film Project