The Immigrant | Charles Chaplin | ★★★★★
Just arrived in the country—penniless and hungry—a little tramp chances upon a shiny new coin, and sets about spending it on a meal. However, a hole in his pocket, an ignorance of American social mores, and the arrival of a pretty girl (to whose aid he had come on the voyage over) ensure that his repast is anything but a straightforward one. Chaplin’s clowning is unsurprisingly great, Edna Purviance’s turn (as the girl) proves affecting, and Albert Austin (in a very small role) also catches the eye, in this wonderful comic examination of the immigrant experience.
Pierrot Deceived | Ludwig von Wich | ★★★★★
Pierrot awakens from his slumber to discover that his darling Columbine is cheating on him with the dastardly Harlequin, but struggles to put matters right, in this delightfully elegant short film. With interior scenes tinted yellow and exterior blue, Ludwig von Wich illustrates this popular 17th century story entirely through the silhouetted figures of his actors and sets, with the final result—despite the comically lurid subject matter—proving one of great beauty.
The Portrait of Captain Grogg | Victor Bergdahl | ★★★★
When Captain Grogg has his portrait painted, he takes violent offence to the finished piece. However, gaining vengeance proves impossible, thanks to the artist’s prodigious physical dexterity. Bergdahl’s innovative mixed-media short treats both its filmed and drawn elements as if they were animated, with the result proving something of a minor masterpiece of comic editing.