Charlie competes with his fellow shop assistant. He is fired by the pawnbroker and rehired. He nearly destroys everything in the shop and and himself. He helps capture a burglar. He destroys a client’s clock while examining it in detail.
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Really stupid. Not funny at all. I love a great silent film, but this is just crap. Were these ladder jokes ever funny? I bet they were tired even in the 16th century. Lumiere's Workers Leaving the Factory is infinitely more entertaining. Why anyone bothered to restore this is beyond me. They should restore Wellman's "Begggars of Life", or "Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins", or "Mother, Jugs and Speed".
After just raving about The Immigrant, another Chaplin pops up on Mubi. While I certainly won't tear this short down, I won't raise it to the top of his repertoire either. The Pawnshop hits a handful of solid comedic bits, but unfortunately relies on repeating ladder gags a few too many times. 3.5/5
The sixth short film that Chaplin made for Mutual, The Pawnshop is yet another fine showcase for Chaplin's prodigious gifts of slapstick. Ladder gags on ladder gags on ladder gags.
While it's certainly lacking the grace and genius of Chaplin's best work, there are worse ways to spend 25 minutes. Come for the clock gag, stay because you've been hit on the head with a rolling pin.
Totally dadaist and ridiculous, with the slapsticky action overwhelming any sense of story. But, still, I laughed. And I found the extended scene where Chaplin totally guts the inside of a clock from a store patron to be a nice gag, even though there's no good reason for it in the film. The kicker is where a streetgoer asks the dejected patron, carrying the destroyed clock, for the time.