Charlie Chaplin in BETWEEN SHOWERS (1914) – Caught in a rainstorm of macho

BetweenShowers

(WARNING: Major spoilers abound!)

Sometimes the Keystone shorts are very funny. Other times, the Keystone shorts are filled up with a lot of frantic action in the hope that you won’t notice how little comedy there is. Between Showers is an example of the latter.

It begins with a tediously laborious gag in which Ford Sterling steals an umbrella from Chester Conklin (who plays a preoccupied cop). Next, we see the aftermath of a rain shower. A lady (Emma Bell Clifton) wants to walk across the street but cannot negotiate a huge puddle. Ford says he’ll find a plank of wood to place across the water, and with designs on the woman, he rushes off to find one. Then Charlie happens upon the woman and attempts the same plan of action.

Meanwhile, a cop helpfully guides the woman past the puddle, negating the gentlemen’s efforts. But that doesn’t stop the two from thumping their chests and acting all macho about what they would have done if they’d had the chance. Pretty soon, both of them are hitting on the woman to the point that you wish she’d file a sexual-harassment complaint on the two of them.

Then Ford has a temper tantrum because the lady won’t give back his umbrella, so he goes to find a cop and demand justice. Guess which cop he finds. This can’t end well.

But then, it didn’t start out all that wonderfully, either.

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