Synopsis by Phil Posner
Triple Trouble, although commonly acknowledged in Chaplin filmographies, was not really a Charlie Chaplin film in that it was released without his permission, and much to his annoyance by Essanay three years after he left them. Its jumbled story is cobbled together out of pieces of Police, Work and the unfinished feature, Life, which Essanay insisted Chaplin abandon in favor of making more quickly produced two-reelers. It also contains new footage shot in 1918 by Leo White in order to provide the weak plot on which to hang the Chaplin footage. Chaplin is a janitor in the home of Colonel Nutt, the inventor of a new secret weapon, the wireless bomb. Edna Purviance is the cleaning woman in the same household and Charlie incurs her anger by spilling garbage on her clean floor and getting her into trouble with their boss, the cook Billy Armstrong. A group of foreign diplomats led by White plan to get the formula from the Professor by either bribe or theft. When he is ejected from the house by the butler at the Colonel's request, Leo hires a thief to do the dirty work, but is overheard by a cop. Meanwhile, in a scene excised from Life and Police, Charlie goes to a flop house for the night where he encounters some rather odd characters, including a drunk who won't stop singing until Charlie smashes him with a bottle, but not before preparing his bed and pillow and tucking him in afterward. A riot starts at the flophouse when Charlie robs a pickpocket who has been robbing the sleepers. Chaplin uses a gag he was to repeat in The Gold Rush, that of laying covered in bed, wrong way round, with hands in shoes. The thief, having co-opted Charlie, arrives at the Nutt house and tries to steal the formula, but the cops are there and a melee ensues in which the thief fires his gun into the Colonel's invention and the house, the diplomats and everyone else explodes. Charlie is seen emerging from the oven door -- just as he had at the end of Work.
bomb, cooking, diplomat, drunk, maid, professor