Between Showers

Director: Henry Lehrman

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Between Showers; aka, Charlie & the Umbrella (1914) was Chaplins fourth film -- all four having been made in less than one month. He's closer to becoming the Little Tramp than in the previous three films, as he's less of a scoundrel than the previous films which had him either drunk or a crook. This time he's sober & even has a faintly heroic urge in him.

Between ShowersAt a quarter-hour, it's bearable because short, but not the best of Charlie's earliest films, few of which can be called good to start with. The Champion (1915) & a very few other early ones are successful, but Between Showers, not entirely.

After a hard rain, a man's umbrella is ruined so he sneaks up on a police officer (Chester Conklin) who is making time with a woman (Sadie Lampe) & takes his umbrella, replacing it with the broken one. The lady loses interest in the cop seeing he can't even keep track of his own umbrella. So he's one annoyed cop.

Meanwhile a beautiful young woman (Emma Bell Clifton) is trying to find a place to ford the flooded street. The man (Ford Sterling) with the stolen umbrella is overcome by a masher's false chivalry. Testing the depth of the water with the umbrella, he realizes he had better go find a board or something to lay over it. He asks the young lady to hold the umbrella as he goes in search of a board.

Charlie Chaplin belatedly enters the tale, wanting to help the same young lady. He heads off to find a board to lay across the water, even if he has to steal one from somebody who is using it. But while both men are off on their quest, the police officer happens by, lifts the woman bodily, & wades across depositing her on the other side.

The first masher shows up with a board & is annoyed to see the woman has already gotten across. He runs after her to reclaim the umbrella, but she apparently believes it's hers to keep.

At the halfway mark of the one-reel comedy, Charlie's hardly been in it at all. He's presently giving a raspberry to the cop for no reason, then spots the umbrella thief trying to get his stolen umbrella back from the woman who wants to keep it. She gives him a thrashing.

Charlie's laughing at the encounter without interferring, until the umbrella thief bumps into Charlie, at which point he decides to take on the bigger man, & they tussel for a bit.

It turns into a brick-throwing battle & Charlie even bashes the umbrella thief in the face with a brick, which doesn't quite succeed as comedy, looking too brutal & apt to cause death. Nor is it funny when a harmless passerby gets shoved in the water & disappears.

It ends with the umbrella changing hands a few times until the original umbrella thief runs away to get a cop, who, finding Charlie with the umbrella that had been stolen from him earlier that day, soon has the whole story, & arrests the original thief.

The final scene is included only in the ten & a half minute full version; there's an eight-minute version circulating without the closer.

Charlie's attempts to do a good deed, helping the set-up woman (herself an umbrella thief), brings him closer to the classic Little Tramp, even though here he goes about it a mite too violently.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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