It. tit.: Charlot prende moglie. Scen.: Charles Chaplin. F.: Harry Ensign. Scgf.: E.T. Hazy. Int.: Charles Chaplin (the false count), Edna Purviance (the girl), Fred Goodwins (il padre), Leo White (the count), Lloyd Bacon (the butler), Paddy McGuire (old household), Carl Stockdale (cop), Ernest Van Pelt (cop), Bud Jamison (cop). Prod.: Jesse T. Robbins per The Essanay Manufacturing Company. DCP. Bn.
Chaplin’s 40th appearance on the big screen is with A Jitney Elopement, which tiptoes along the imaginary line separating the ‘primitive’ Chaplin from the ‘classic’ one. It is true that the characters – father, daughter, count, impostor – are still a bit rigid, schematic and deprived of their own spiritual dimension. It is also true that the narrative structure is too fragile to unite the different places/sets of action (home, park, street), and the falls, kicks, and chasing are farcical in nature. Some scenes in the film, however, also demonstrate a transformation underway. They are mostly moments when the romantic tone and the symbolic or surreal interpretation of a situation momentarily rein in the hyperkinetic action allowing other moods to take over: the dignified resignation of the Tramp as he rolls a cigarette and watches his rival’s gallantry, the sort of waltz of the cars captured in an extreme long shot that interrupts an endless chase scene, and the difficulty he has at the table and using the right cutlery (bread cut like an accordion, beans eaten with a fork and knife) having dinner at Edna’s: a timid prelude to the satire of high society and its idiosyncrasies that would become the subject of many of his future films.