A Jitney Elopement (1915)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The title of Charlie Chaplin's fifth comedy for Essanay refers to the popular term for a Model T Ford, a jitney. Its theme of impersonation was one Chaplin had used before in Caught in a Cabaret and Her Friend the Bandit, and would use again in The Count and other films. Chaplin's girlfriend Edna Purviance is about to be forced by her father to wed the wealthy Count de Ha-Ha (Leo White), whom neither has met. Chaplin, dropping by for a visit, stands below her bedroom window whistling for her. She tosses him a note from the Count, announcing his visit and pleads to be rescued. Chaplin impersonates the Count and is welcomed by her mercenary father. He's given drinks and cigars and sits down to lunch with Purviance and her father. Chaplin performs a bit that he had done in one of the Karno sketches, that of carving a loaf of bread into a spiral and using it as an accordion. Although his table manners are decidedly not upper class, Chaplin pulls off the impersonation until the real Count arrives. The enraged father kicks Chaplin out of the house, then goes out for a spin with Purviance and the Count in the latter's car. They drive to a park where father hopes the Count can sweet-talk Purviance into marrying him. At first horrified by his intentions, she breaks out into gales of laughter at the sight of the tattered seat of his pants. Chaplin happens by and steals Purviance away, dispatching Count and father, along with a couple of cops. The fleeing couple steal the Count's jitney, and lead Count, father and cop, now following in a car they've taken, on a merry chase. The chase leads them to a pier, where in a clever stop-motion photography scene, the cars jockey about until Chaplin bumps the other car off the pier and into the water. A happy Chaplin and Purviance are about to kiss as the film fades out.

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Keywords

car, daughter, deception, father, impersonation, marriage-arranged