is employed in a pawnshop. He goes about his job in the usual Chaplin
manner, by doing such things as insulting customers and dusting an electric
fan while it is running. Charlie and a co-worker get into a quarrel
over a ladder they are using to polish the shop sign. The pawnbroker
fires Charlie, who appeals for another chance because of his "eleven
children," whom he has hastily invented for the occasion. The
In the kitchen, Charlie helps the
pawnbroker's daughter to dry dishes by passing them through a clothes
wringer. When a man presents a clock to be pawned, Charlie takes
it apart, then puts all the pieces in the man's hat and, with sorrow,
indicates that it is not acceptable. A crook comes in and pretends
that he wants to pawn an umbrella. When his attempt to get at the
cash register fails, he pretends he wants to buy the pawnshop.
Charlie, who has hidden in a trunk after another violent dispute with
his co-worker, spots the crook as he tries to open the shop vault.
Charlie emerges from the trunk, knocks out the crook, and is embraced by
the girl for his deed.
Henry Bergman, the portly actor who was to
work closely with Chaplin until his death in 1946, made his first
appearance in a Chaplin film as the proprietor of the pawnshop. If
Chaplin, in his Mutual films, offered a series of comic essays on the
trades and professions, he presented a fantastic gallery of the skilled
and unskilled in a few minutes of The Pawnshop. A man
brings in an alarm clock and Charlie accepts it. Examining it he
becomes, successively, a heart specialist, a doctor, a specialist in
antiques, a driller, a housewife, a dentist, a plumber, a jeweler, a
ribbon clerk, and a cook. It was, and is, one of the greatest
scenes Chaplin ever made.
What Was Said About The Pawnshop:
New York Dramatic Mirror
There is a succession of highly ludicrous scenes with Chaplin the
principal figure. One comedy climax after another follows with
amazing rapidity, and Chaplin performs some most amusing stunts as the
man-of-all-work around the pawn broking establishment. He mixes up
things with a high hand, messes both the outside and inside, and in some
amusing celluloid byplay saves his boss from being robbed. There
is the usual secondary plot consideration, it may even be classified as
third, for that matter, for it is Chaplin who enlivens each scene and by
his devious and divers ways of handling each situation causes hearty and
To thousands who are yet to see Chaplin,
The Pawnshop subject will prove an irresistible laugh-getter.
Chaplin in working in a pawnshop is enabled to mug, run and slide, abuse
patrons, and destroy articles brought into the shop for pawn. An
example is where Chaplin takes a clock and piece by piece takes it apart
and hammers the mechanical parts as the mood seizes him. Chaplin
himself has never been funnier or indulged in more of his typical
Chaplin-isms, and the cast plays up to him in fine style.