This film made me laugh, a lot, but overall it was messy – much like the on screen action. I didn’t really get any sense of who any of the characters were and to be honest apart from inhabiting the house at the centre of the story, Billy Armstrong and Marta Golden’s characters weren’t really necessary. They and Leo White were only really used during the films frenetic ending which is somewhere between a chase and a farce. That being said, there is still much to like about this Chaplin Essanay effort.
I liked the clever camera angle that Chaplin used to give the sense that he was pulling his bosses cart up a steep hill. It looked pretty good and added a bit of humour to a scene which was stagnating a bit. The cart pulling scene contained some good moments but dragged on too long for my liking. Chaplin wiping sweat from his forehead then ringing out an obviously pre soaked handkerchief was a highlight. When the action turns to the house there are many great moments. As you can imagine, Chaplin plus wallpaper paste creates some hilarious business. The film on the whole made me snigger in several places rather than laugh throughout and as I said previously the plot felt somewhat forgotten and was confusing. A confusing plot isn’t something you want from a film that is under thirty minutes in length.
The romantic plot also took a bit of a back seat here and didn’t really come to the fore until close to the end. Chaplin and Edna Purviance’s Maid had a couple of cute scenes though. Overall this short is much more slapstick driven than plot driven and while funny in part, is slightly disappointing.