8 June 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
Charlie at sea
Am a big fan of Charlie Chaplin, have been for over a decade now. Many films and shorts of his are very good to masterpiece, and like many others consider him a comedy genius and one of film's most important and influential directors.
From his Essanay period after leaving Keystone, 'Shanghaied' is not one of his very best or even among the best of this particular period. It shows a noticeable step up in quality though from his Keystone period, where he was still evolving and in the infancy of his long career, from 1914, The Essanay period is something of Chaplin's adolescence period where his style had been found and starting to settle. Something that can be seen in the more than worthwhile 'Shanghaied'.
'Shanghaied' is not one of his all-time funniest or most memorable, other efforts also have more pathos and a balance of that and the comedy. The story is still a little flimsy, there are times where it struggles to sustain the short length, and could have had more variety and less more of the same repetition.
On the other hand, 'Shanghaied' looks pretty good, not incredible but it was obvious that Chaplin was taking more time with his work (even when deadlines were still tight) and not churning out as many countless shorts in the same year of very variable success like he did with Keystone. Appreciate the importance of his Keystone period and there is some good stuff he did there, but the more mature and careful quality seen here and later on is obvious.
While not one of his funniest or original, 'Shanghaied' is still very entertaining with some clever, entertaining and well-timed slapstick. It moves quickly and there is no dullness in sight, it's also very charming and sweet without being cloying.
Chaplin directs more than competently, if not quite cinematic genius standard yet. He also, as usual, gives an amusing and expressive performance and at clear ease with the physicality of the role. The supporting cast acquit themselves well, notably Billy Armstrong.
In conclusion, pretty good. 7/10 Bethany Cox