Easy Street (1917)

Publication Year: 

Image retrieved from topmovies.blog.ir on November 2nd, 2014.

Easy Street is a great Chaplin short. Briskly paced, and with a lesson on redemption, it is the perfect vehicle to show off the Tramp. Made before the Hayes code, this movie even contains a scene that truly shocked me.

The Tramp wanders into a church after hearing a hymn. After services he is saved by the preacher and the piano player, Edna. He even puts back the collection box he had taken. Now reformed, he joins the police force and is assigned to Easy Street, where a particularly large bully rules the neighborhood.

Chaplin and the Bully get into a fight, with Chaplin coming out on top. The Bully is arrested, but soon escapes. Chaplin runs into Edna, but while he has to deal with the bully returning, she gets thrown into a basement, and locked up with a heroin addict.

It actually shows this guy with a needle shooting up. After getting high, he decides to rape Edna. Chaplin of course comes out on top, and rescues Edna, but not before sitting on the heroin needle himself.

Drug use in old films is very rare. The Girl from Missouri (1934) mentions cocaine. The Hayes code put a stop to that, and drugs became a taboo subject in movies. Drugs did not go mainstream again until Frank Sinatra played an addict in The Man With the Golden Arm (1955).

Chaplin often worked with the same co-stars in his films. Eric Campbell's size made him a perfect foil for the diminutive Tramp. In July, 1917, his wife died of a heart attack. His daughter survived being hit by a car a couple of days later. A second marriage ended in divorce. He died that December, crashing his car after drinking at a party.

Text retrieved from threemoviebuffs.com on November 2nd, 2014.