Charlie Chaplin’s RECREATION (1914) – Charlie the catalyst

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In the park, a woman leaves her husband (Boyfriend? Brother? Who knows?), a sailor, asleep on a bench. She finds another bench to sit at, when Charlie happens upon the scene and tries to appropriate the woman for himself. Then the sailor awakens and sees what’s going on. Hmm, this can’t end well.

This should play out like typical Keystone “Beat each other up in a park” hokum, and yet, once a couple of well-meaning cops get dragged into the fracas, things get funnier than expected. Charlie has a way of getting the best of acquaintances to turn on each other as they never have before. And the woman doesn’t really know with whom she should swear her allegiance – she just knows she doesn’t want it with Charlie. It makes for a brisk, funny seven minutes.

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