Police (1916)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Comedy, Slapstick  |  
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Charlie Chaplin's last film for Essanay (not counting the compilation, Triple Trouble) was released after he had moved on to the Mutual Film Corporation. Charlie is released from prison with the customary few dollars in his pocket. He's approached on the street by a fake preacher who asks Charlie to "Let me help you go straight," making him sob with his touching sermon, while picking his pocket. Charlie encounters a drunk with his pocketwatch hanging from his vest, but resists the temptation of stealing it. A few moments later, after realizing he has been robbed, Charlie sees the preacher with the drunk and notes, after the preacher departs, that the watch is gone. Approached by a real preacher this time, Charlie chases him down the street. As evening approaches Charlie goes to a seedy flophouse, but is ejected because he cannot pay. He encounters an old cellmate on the street and is recruited to participate in the robbery of Edna's house. Charlie proves an inept burglar, making so much noise that Edna is roused, and she calls the police before confronting them. She begs them not to go upstairs because her mother is very ill and the shock might kill her. She even provides food and beer for the burglars, asking Charlie to let her help him to go straight. But Charlie's partner is heartless and heads upstairs despite Edna's pleas. When Edna tries to stop him, he threatens to strike her and that is too much for Charlie, who fights with the thief until the police arrive. Firing his pistol, the thief escapes through a back window, but the cops catch Charlie before he can escape. Edna, grateful to Charlie for his protection, lies to the police telling them Charlie is her husband. After the cops leave, Edna gives Charlie a coin and sends him off.

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Keywords

going-straight, con/scam, fake, robbery, pickpocket, prison, release, alcoholism, minister