In the city slums, a reformed tramp becomes a police constable—and goes toe to toe with a huge thug who dominates the street.
After signing with Mutual in 1916—with an unheard-of salary and his own studio!—Charlie Chaplin continued his artistic surge, and Easy Street is one of his best loved short films of this period, tart with comic invention.
A really wonderful short! The main attraction is Chaplin's scrawny charm and acrobatics pitted against a well-built thug, but you can already see the way he used comedy to address poverty and cruelty (themes of his childhood). The finale, where he gets strength from accidentally poking himself with a junkie's needle, is a corker.
The usually so anti-establishment Charlie becomes a cop! (He needs the money). Mostly a lot of cheesy slapstick-thugs chasing Charlie around, and Charlie hitting them on the head with his nightstick, but I'm giving this one an extra star for the luridness of showing a junkie shooting up.
A sheer delight of a film and a hilariously furious manifesto of movement: horizontal chase and passing through windows and doors, vertical ascents/descents, rolls, all cut across cinematic frame which is often dense as in the case of the police station and the large family or relatively open as in the police patrol. With great -given the era- statements on gender politics it also anticipates martial arts moves.
C'est avec une extraordinaire accumulation de hasards bienheureux, que le frêle et lunaire Charlot va se débarrasser d'une incroyable brute épaisse, sans coup férir ni excès de combativité, simplement secondé par une chance phénoménale et une exemplaire et redoutable naïveté qui le fait gagner à chaque fois... www.cinefiches.com