Wednesday, September 24, 2014

THE NEW JANITOR, released September 24th, 1914

According to Chaplin, this film convinced him that he could evoke tears as well as laughter. He recalled in his autobiography that "an old actress," Alice Davenport, (he mistakenly remembered her as Dorothy, her daughter) watched the rehearsal of the firing scene from the sidelines and began to weep. This was a dimension of the Tramp character that audiences had not yet seen. It is also interesting to note that Chaplin's work at the time was catching on more quickly than his name. A review of the film in the September 26th, 1914 issue of Motion Picture News said "The New Janitor will arouse peals of laughter from any audience" but named its star as Charles Chapman.

The firing scene that made Alice Davenport cry."I know it's supposed to be funny,"
she told Chaplin, "but you just make me weep."
We see this gag again in  The Immigrant (1917).

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