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A Night in the Show (1915)

Mr. Pest tries several theatre seats before winding up in front in a fight with the conductor. He is thrown out. In the lobby he pushes a fat lady into a fountain and returns to sit down by... See full summary »

Director:

Charles Chaplin (uncredited)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Chaplin ... Mr. Pest / Mr. Rowdy - in the Balcony
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Storyline

Mr. Pest tries several theatre seats before winding up in front in a fight with the conductor. He is thrown out. In the lobby he pushes a fat lady into a fountain and returns to sit down by Edna. Mr. Rowdy, in the gallery, pours beer down on Mr. Pest and Edna. He attacks patrons, a harem dancer, the singers Dot and Dash, and a fire-eater. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 November 1915 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Night at the Show See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on a famous comedy act called "Mummingbirds" in which Charles Chaplin starred when he was a player with The Karno Company in England. See more »

Goofs

After fighting with the fat lady in the fountain, Mr. Pest's clothes are wet, but upon returning to his seat, they have instantly dried up. See more »

Connections

References Fantasmagorie (1908) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another of Charlie's forgotten classics.
21 July 2002 | by Anonymous_MaxineSee all my reviews

A Night in the Show starts off with a stunt that is less than characteristic for a Chaplin film, because it's just not very imaginative. Charlie cuts in line to get into a show, and is told by the guard to get to the end of the line and wait his turn. So he calmly agrees to do it, but then he goes out and stands behind a statue while everyone else files away. Why did he do this? Is he supposed to be drunk or something? His antics within the auditorium seem to indicate that he is, as he staggeringly wiggles his way down a couple of crowded aisles, lights a match off of a bald man's head, and throws his match into a nearby tuba, and claps at all the wrong times. These are the kinds of things that Chaplin is so well-known for, these situations where he seems to upset everyone around him without even really realizing that he's doing anything wrong.

Of course, it's not always his fault, as in this case, he is led to the wrong seat, causing him to make his way down these crowded aisles repeatedly, upsetting more people every time. The film begins to delve into simplistic but hilarious violence as Charlie ultimately proceeds to belligerently punch everyone in sight with his characteristic roundhouse punches, bringing the whole house to their feet and having to be forcefully removed. He is seated in another section while the conductor of the band in the show (the first person he attacked) puts himself and his equipment back together in an effort to begin the rest of the show.

There is an element of foreshadowing in the film as we witness another person who is not unruly, but who is a little unstable on his feet and who resembles the Tramp far too much to be anything but a person who is going to cause some trouble at some point in the film, with the expected result that everyone will take him as the Tramp and Charlie will take the blame for whatever he does. This guy turns out to be a mildly amusing character as he cheerfully dumps a beer from the balcony onto the audience below, where the Tramp, fresh from shoving a fat lady into a tub of water, is flirting with a flapper girl who he caught eyeing him from across the room.

Not exactly the best stuff from Chaplin, but one of the funniest scenes in the film is the one in which the Tramp goes to hold the girl's hand and winds up holding the hand of her beefy date, fluttering his eyelids at her all the while, completely oblivious. He moves again when he discovers his plunder, only to begin getting himself in trouble yet again. He ultimately manages to get himself into a fight right on the stage where the show is taking place, only to be moved yet again.

Charlie seems to be more vexed than usual with people in general in this film, which is understandable near the end when he gets seated next to a horribly aggravating fat kid, as the movie is reduced to a food fight, and the show gets the biggest applause after Charlie has gone on stage to put a pie in the face of the guy singing. It's pretty clear that Charlie is making a comment with this film about the quality of the average stage production in 1915, because all of the acts in the film are pretty bad. No wonder the Tramp's upset for so much of the film.

As is pretty traditional with these early Chaplin short films, A Night in the Show does not end with much of a conclusion, but rather with another comedy skit, the grand finale, if you will. This is by far the funniest scene in the film, in which the Tramp look-alike in the balcony takes a fire hose and proceeds to hose down everyone in the auditorium. What a great scene! There are some truly great laughs in that scene, although I remain unsure about why there was a fire hose in the middle of an auditorium. I'm sure I just don't know enough about the fire standards of 1915, but regardless of why it's there, it makes a great prop for the film.

A Night in the Show is definitely not one of the best or most memorable of Chaplin's early films, but the quality is there and it is, as they all are, a cinematic curiosity piece in that it was made by one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of the medium.


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