The guy could do everything
1916 ‧ Black and white/Short Film ‧ 30 mins
7.2/10 · IMDb
A waiter (Charles Chaplin) catches the eye of a socialite (Edna Purviance).
Initial release: December 4, 1916 (USA)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Music composed by: Michael Mortilla
Screenplay: Charlie Chaplin, Vincent P. Bryan, Maverick Terrell
Producers: Charlie Chaplin, Henry P. Caulfield
Title: The Rink
Director: Charles Chaplin
Sometime in 1915 Charles Chaplin became a cultural phenomenon. Shops were stocked with Chaplin merchandise, he was featured in cartoons and comic strips, and several songs were written about him. It was Beatlemania before Beatlemania. He became the world’s first film star. When his contract ran out with Essanay Film Company he was aware of his enormous popularity, thus he asked for an incredibly high price in his contract. Mutual films delivered the goods; he was to be paid $670,000 per year.
In The Rink, one of his many Mutual films, a bumbling waiter (Charles Chaplin) tears up the local roller rink with his skating after causing caos at his work.
When watching this you’ll be taken aback by the graceful eloquence of Chaplin’s skating. This film must be what the French have referred to when they compared him to ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinksy. Chaplin skated again in “Modern Times” (1936), that film’s scene obviously drew great inspiration from The Rink. The grace of the skating makes for a nice contrast to the knockabout slapstick that the film is otherwise.
You’d think this durability would not mix well with the clumsiness of The Tramp character, but Chaplin makes it work rather well by adding blissful foolishness to the equation. The best moments occur as waiter Charlie, unwittingly serving a live cat to one of his customers. Another is the Charlie and Eric (a big muscular guy on tiny skates) encounter, specifically the one at the skating party.
The Rink is a funny little picture that will guarantee a laugh out of anybody who chooses to view it, even if they aren’t a fan of Chaplin. I found many scenes full of wit and charm, technically well made and wonderfully acted. Though there isn’t much to the story and resolution, The Rink is a film that is hard to forget.