Plot: A convict (Charlie Chaplin) has managed to make a break, sneaking past the guards and causing immense chaos in the process. His seaside escape also put him in a position to be a hero, as he saved a woman and her daughter from drowning. As a thanks for his bravery, he is invited to a posh party populated with society’s elite, none of whom know he is an escaped criminal. As he gets into trouble and riles up his rich fellow party goers, a newspaper article about his mad dash threatens to expose the truth. Can the convict keep his prisoner status a secret and if not, can he keep a step ahead of both the wealthy hosts and the guards who want to haul him back in?
Entertainment Value: This was the final short Charlie Chaplin made in his Mutual Film run, so perhaps an escape narrative makes a lot of sense. I think this is yet another light, fun slapstick romp from Chaplin, especially the opening scenes that are filled with fast paced, acrobatic chases and dodges. I can’t even imagine how many takes must have been involved, given how crucial timing was to these scenes and Chaplin’s well known need for perfection. The movie strings together several locations and segments, each with a fresh atmosphere for Chaplin to make light of. The chase at the start is my personal favorite, but I think the entire short is a lot of fun, though it doesn’t have the heart or character of some of Chaplin’s work. This is more brisk, light stuff, though it is still hilarious and still highly recommended.