DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
A DOG'S LIFE (director/writer: Charles Chaplin; cinematographer: R.H. Totheroh; cast: Charles Chaplin (Tramp), Edna Purviance (Bar Singer), Mutt (Scraps), Syd Chaplin (Lunchwagon Owner), Charles Reisner (Employment Agency Clerk), Granville Redmond (Dance Hall Proprietor), Alf Reeves (Man at Bar); Runtime: 32; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Charles Chaplin; First National; 1918-silent)

 
"It was the first film to make $1 million."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

For Charles Chaplin ("The Immigrant"/"The Pilgrim "/"The Kid") this was his first release for First National Studio and his first three-reeler. It was the first film to make $1 million.

Charlie plays the Little Tramp, an unemployed bum sleeping in an empty lot on the streets in the inner city of Los Angeles. When a mongrel dog named Scraps is attacked by a bunch of stray dogs, Charlie rescues him and the two bond. Charlie puts Scraps in his pocket and sneaks him into the tough Green Lantern bar, where he meets the innocent bar singer (Edna Purviance) stuck working for bullies who order her to lure customers to buy drinks. The Little Tramp gets the boot by the gruff dance hall owner (Granville Redmond) when he doesn't buy the singer a beer. While stealing food from a lunchwagon owner (Syd Chaplin, Charlie's brother), Charlie's spotted by a policeman and flees. Meanwhile a drunken high hat swell is mugged by two ruffians and when the cop stops chasing Charlie, he chases them. The thief with the wallet buries it in the lot where Charlie sleeps and later when retiring, Scraps digs it up. The now wealthy Charlie goes back to the Green Lantern to woo the singer. After a few tussles with the ruffians over the stolen billfold, Charlie prevails. In a happy ending, Charlie winds up living in an idylic country home with the singer and Scraps.

The film has numerous sight gags and physical comedy, with an appealing Charlie trying to overcome poverty, unemployment and the harshness of streetlife for the disenfranchised. These realistic conditions provide the comedy with a social conscience.

REVIEWED ON 12/31/2007        GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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