A Day's Pleasure (1919)

TV-G   |    |  Short, Comedy

A Day's Pleasure (1919) Poster

A father takes his family for an outing, which turns out to be a ridiculous trial.

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7 April 2007 | Anonymous_Maxine
| Chaplin on his way out of the short comedy.
I have heard that Chaplin rushed to produce A Day's Pleasure because the studio was demanding product while he was working on The Kid, but I have to disagree that it is a below-average comedy. It is a little different from the fare that we have come to expect from him in his short comedies, but I think this is as much a reflection of his desire to do something different as it is of the fact that he rushed through the production to satisfy the studio while he made another film, which he was more than likely more interested in.

It should be kept in mind that Chaplin had been involved in the production of nearly 100 short silent comedies by the time A Day's Pleasure came around, so I can forgive him a little distraction in it's production. If nothing else, I find the film to be particularly interesting, especially at the beginning, because the building that Chaplin and the family leave from at the opening of the film is Chaplin's office in Los Angeles, where I live. It's hard to mistake those mountains in the background!

One thing that I found to be interesting is that at one point in the opening sequence, a man walks into the frame in the background, and the trivia on the IMDb claims that he was most likely a studio employee, which seems like a preposterous notion, since the man not only walks right into the frame during shooting, but also pauses to see what's going on after he turns back. If he was a studio employee, it must have been his first day!

Also of some note is a rather disturbing portrayal of the black characters. Granted, 1919 was a very different time than now, but like Hitchcock's The Ring, which featured a sadly slave-like black man grinning gleefully as dirty, backwards-looking white people dunked him in a tub of water, A Day's Pleasure features a band of black musicians which doesn't say anything good about Chaplin's idea of black people (what is the meaning of "Three minds with but a single thought?").

While I agree that some of the material is a little different from many of Chaplin's other short films, the sequences here are certainly not without merit, particularly a hilarious bit with an uncooperative deck chair midway through the film. Some of the behavior of Chaplin and his other actors in the film is a little odd (at one point the family is on a crowded passenger ship on which everyone seems to be falling asleep on their feet in the middle of the day), but I should think that Chaplin made a graceful exit from the short silent comedy, if not an eventful one.

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