Charlie Chaplin in GENTLEMEN OF NERVE (1914) – A race to the finish

Nerve

Mack Swain and Charlie attempt to sneak into an auto race via an opening in a fence. The movie’s funniest bit is an extended routine wherein Mack gets stuck halfway through the opening. Once he’s seen and conspicuous, he continually motions to Charlie to leave him alone so that he can get back out. But Charlie misinterprets the motions as Mack’s asking for help, so he tries to push Mack further through the fence.

Chaplin has some other good gags here, though they’re rendered somewhat impotent by some of his most anti-social on-screen behavior to date. (At one point, Charlie is arguing with Chester Conklin and punctuates his side of the debate by biting Chester’s nose; later, Charlie’s burns Mack’s proboscis with a lit cigarette.)

Charlie gets to stay and watch the race with Mabel Normand, while the other guys get hauled off by a cop. In the Keystone way of looking at things, I guess that counts as a triumph.

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