Easy Street (1917)


Director: Charles Chaplin
Cast: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Albert Austin


A tramp determines to make good after hearing a comely missionary worker, and joins the police force on the toughest beat in town. Before long the neighbourhood has undergone a moral regeneration.

The Review

By all accounts inspired by his childhood in Lambeth, with its wife-beating and drug addiction, this is a more shocking than usual piece of film comedy. It contains the famous gaslight asphyxiation and a brilliant use of the single street set with its facing apartments. There is an early tracking shot just prior to Chaplin's first confrontation with Campbell. In its Dickensian setting and mixture of broad comedy and pathos, together with its perfect, pacy construction, this is a Chaplin masterpiece.