A sign of a great comedian doesn’t stand still and confine funny situations in their head, instead they make use of the things around them and turn it into something funny. And this is exactly what Charlie Chaplin did in The Pawnshop. He takes a realistic backdrop, plays with the props, and turns it into something laughable.
Contrary to his one man schtick at One A.M., Chaplin here works at a pawnshop and has to deal with his boss, a lady, a few customers, and a crook. It presents continuous ridiculous scenes in a span of 25 minutes that I actually had a great time watching it.
Chaplin manages to pull of something simple yet funny by being merely inventive at thinking up disparity between an item and its purpose – in example, using doctor skills to fix an unbroken clock or using the dishwasher as a means to flatten a dough. The key is to never let the joke run for too long and not repeat it to the point of boring and this is what Chaplin does unfailingly in The Pawnshop. He can just go on and on without really hinting on how far the act could go.
The stunts, especially the ladder scene, are remarkable as they are borderline dangerous, yet still funny. Right before the film ends, he turns everything around by keeping the situation in favor to him and manages to do a speedy TA-DAH with a matching kick, both literally and metaphorically.
I love it.
The film was shown together with Chaplin’s other classic, “One A.M.”, in the 8th International Film Festival Manila held in Shang Cineplex. Each film were accompanied by a live performance from Radioactive Sago Project. Catch the other film screenings from August 28-31. Admission is free.