Plot: A tramp (Charlie Chaplin) arrives at a spa to dry out and try to leave his penchant for the drink behind him, making use of the lavish facilities in order to improve himself and his lifestyle. The only issue is, the tramp doesn’t want to sober up or stop drinking, even taking in some alcohol to partake of during his treatment. The spa claims the special waters found on the grounds are a unique curative, a certain solution to clean up alcohol dependence. But after a series of mishaps and some mischief, the tramp’s booze winds up poured into those curative waters. Will anyone leave the spa sober or will they be more intoxicated than ever?
Entertainment Value: I always have fun with The Cure, one of Charlie Chaplin’s shorts from his time at Mutual Film and to me, one of the funniest. I like that we’re given a snapshot of old school addiction treatment, even if it is shown in a comedic light, as it is a neat slice of history, however skewed. The idea that curative waters could cure addiction is humorous, but not an uncommon belief at the time, so while The Cure is slapstick, it is rooted in reality, even if just a little. The premise is great and sets up a wealth of chances for Chaplin’s tramp to shine, from spiking the curative waters to interactions with the uptight guests to one misadventure after another. I love the swimming pool scene and it is likely my favorite part of The Cure, but there isn’t a weak link in the chain here, just a series of wonderful set pieces. Chaplin and his regular rival Eric Campbell have some wild exchanges as always, while frequent romantic interest Edna Purviance is here to capture the tramp’s affections as usual. This short packs in a ton of laughs in under half an hour and to me, remains one of Chaplin’s best while at Mutual Film, which is no small praise.
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