Charlie chaplin carnival (1938) – imdb
Am a big fan of Charlie Chaplin, have been for over a decade now. Many films and shorts of his are very good to masterpiece, and like many others consider him a comedy genius and one of film’s most important and influential directors.
From his post-Essanay period after leaving Keystone, the short films from 1916 that form ‘Charlie Chaplin Carnival’ (‘The Count’, ‘The Fireman’, ‘The Vagabond’ and ‘Behind the Screen’) showed a noticeable step up in quality though from his Keystone period, where he was still evolving and in the infancy of his long career, from 1914, The Essanay and Mutual periods were something of Chaplin’s adolescence period where his style had been found and starting to settle. Something that can be seen in all four shorts forming ‘Charlie Chaplin Carnival’, ‘The Fireman’ and ‘The Vagabond’ being the stronger two.
The stories are more discernible than before and are never dull, though sometimes a bit too busy and manic. Perhaps a bit episodic too.
On the other hand, ‘Charlie Chaplin Carnival’ looks pretty good, not incredible but it was obvious that Chaplin was taking more time with his work and not churning out countless shorts in the same year of very variable success like he did with Keystone. Appreciate the importance of his Keystone period and there is some good stuff he did there, but the more mature and careful quality seen here and later on is obvious here in ‘Charlie Chaplin Carnival’.
While not one of his most hilarious or touching, all four, especially ‘The Vagabond’, are still very funny with some clever, entertaining and well-timed slapstick and has some substance that generally were not there with Keystone while keeping sentimentality at bay still rightly. ‘Charlie Chaplin Carnival’ moves quickly and there is no dullness in sight.
Chaplin directs more than competently, if not quite cinematic genius standard yet in this period. He also, as usual, gives amusing and expressive performances and at clear ease with the physicality and substance of the roles. The supporting cast acquit themselves well in all four, particularly a charming Edna Purviance and their chemistry is sweet to watch. Eric Campbell is funny and imposing.
In summary, very enjoyable. 8/10 Bethany Cox