The Adventurer

Film Review by Dean Duncan Aug 17, 2015

A lot of very bright people really love this last of the Mutual comedies. I won’t contradict, except to say that I’ve never felt that, quite as much. There’s not much poignancy or portent here. Just hijinks. But given that Chaplin is responsible for it, that’s not so bad!

The convict escaping at the beach prologue is very well-executed, with lots of gags, sub-gags, gag variations. It’s almost like Chaplin’s challenging himself to do a lot with a little. He succeeds, of course. The same goes for that hall and stairway, a very nicely rendered space to which he keeps returning with great freshness. Eric’s beard is funny, as is that repeated bellow for help. I love our friend Henry Bergman’s pipe smoker, and the way he causes the pier to collapse, and the way he lays calmly smoking that pipe in the water. There’s a compound ice cream gag. So resourceful, so well distributed. Really terrific.

The final chase is utterly without jeopardy—in part for that reason it comes off very joyfully. Hey. Come to think of it, maybe I agree with those very bright people after all.