the REEL WORLD: 1921

The Idle Class

Charlie Chaplin plays two roles in this short from his days at First National: his famous Little Tramp (representing the idle poor), and a wealthy husband (representing the idle rich). The Tramp, considerably less gentlemanly than in Chaplin's later films, putters around looking for ways to pass the time. In one long sequence, he plays golf, stealing other players' golf balls in a lovely bit of slapstick. Of course the Tramp and the wealthy husband are confused with each other, especially after the husband finds himself stuck in a suit of armor during a costume party. Chaplin regulars Edna Purviance, Mack Swain, and Lita Grey make appearances; it's a silly little romp with some pointed satire. Fun, but not one of the greats. There are some QuickTime clips online from the film, including the Tramp's being pursued by an irate police officer.

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Emily Way (
Last updated May 24, 1999