Although often regarded as Chaplin’s least funny First National film, A Day’s Pleasure is a simple but effective two reel comedy which considering the circumstances behind its creation, is something of a triumph. While Chaplin was busy working on his first great film, The Kid, the studio were growing impatient with his lack of output so he hastily put together A Day’s Pleasure, a seventeen minute romp set around a family outing aboard a boat. While the film lacks the sort of story and romance of the films Chaplin was capable of producing at the time, it does feature some clever slapstick and laugh out loud moments.
The movie is notable for two brief cameos. The first is a shot of The Chaplin Studios, seen in the background of the opening scene. Although only briefly glimpsed, you can clearly see its isolation, allowing one to note how L.A has grown over the last ninety years. The second cameo comes from Jackie Coogan, the boy made famous by his heartfelt performance in Chaplin’s next film, The Kid. Coogan is barely seen though and has no role other than to sit in a car and get carried onto the boat by his father. The only other actor to have much of a part is Tom Wilson, a man who appeared in four of Chaplin’s films as well as D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance and Birth of a Nation as well as over two-hundred more. Wilson plays a man with whom Charlie fights following a spousal mix-up. Even Edna Purviance goes without character here, perhaps going to show how rushed the production was.