review for The Burlesque on Carmen on AllMovie

The Burlesque on Carmen (1916)
by Craig Butler review

The Burlesque on Carmen is an entertaining enough little picture from Charlie Chaplin, but far from his best. It should be noted right away, however, that this is probably not Chaplin's fault: Carmen was re-edited after Chaplin completed it, deleting some of his scenes and adding in newly shot footage with a character played by Ben Turpin, which wasn't in the original. Considering that, it's no wonder that Carmen is jumpy and a bit lumpy, and that the plot doesn't always make a lot of sense. That said, Carmen still features Chaplin, and that alone makes it worth a look. If less than totally inspired, he's still in good form, and his irreplaceable combination of feistiness, cowardice, haughtiness and humility is shown to good advantage here. His lengthy sword fight with his rival is extremely funny, full of the balletic grace that infuses his best physical comedy, and there are delightful little gems or gemlike moments scattered throughout. Turpin is also amusing; if his work doesn't score as strongly, it's simply because it feels forced in to the proceedings rather than an organic part of them.