Sunday, July 4, 2010
Charlie Chaplin's "The Immigrant" (1917)
Charlie Chaplin's 61st Film Released June 17, 1917.
The Immigrant (also called Broke) starring the Charlie Chaplin Tramp character as an immigrant coming to the United States who is accused of theft on the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, and befriends a young woman along the way. It also stars Edna Purviance and Eric Campbell.
According to Kevin Brownlow and David Gill's documentary series Unknown Chaplin, the first scenes to be written and filmed take place in what became the movie's second half, in which the penniless Tramp finds a coin and goes for a meal in a restaurant, not realising that the coin has fallen out of his pocket. It was not until later that Chaplin decided the reason the Tramp was penniless was that he had just arrived on a boat from Europe, and used this notion as the basis for the first half. Purviance reportedly was required to eat so many plates of beans during the many takes to complete the restaurant sequence (in character as another immigrant who falls in love with Charlie) that she became physically ill.
The scene in which Chaplin's character kicks an immigration officer was cited later as evidence of his anti-Americanism when he was forced to leave the United States in the 1950s. The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.