After a night on the town, Charlie comes home to the house where he is staying, drunk and unable to find his key. For the next twenty minutes he staggers into, out of, and through the house in an inebriated confrontation with the house itself.
What better way to close off this year of cinema than with the king of silent comedy himself! One A.M. strips comedy down to its essentials to find Chaplin giving a one man show. Swapping the Tramp for a drunken aristocrat, Chaplin’s balletic grace and inventive use of sets produce slapstick gold.
Solid Chaplin effort. Great slapstick and gags throughout. Really solid performance. A drunk gets dropped off at his house and he makes numerous attempts to get out of the taxi, get in his house, and battles the furniture and decorations in his home as he tries to get upstairs to go to bed. Very simple concept full of great physical comedy. Chaplin throws his body around with great abandon. Great stuff.
All 1916 Chaplin get 4 or 5 stars. Unadorned. A camera on a tripod. Barely detectable tilt shots to keep his body w/in the frame. Slight pans. Aside from that, it's all Charlie. A masterful performance by a master of the craft. We are able to see the transition from the vaudeville stage to celluloid and the self-deprecation that made Chaplin a working class hero for millions of people at the dawn of modernity.
Great print! Remember when drunkenness and slapstick were funny? It wasn't that long ago. Chevy Chase and Jim Carrey did the slapstick. Dudley Moore, Foster Brooks, Dean Martin and Dick Van Dyke played the drunk. It's a different time. The drunk stuff doesn't seems as funny anymore. There may be a time in the future when it comes back.
The premise is a bit small to sustain 27 minutes, but One AM is well worth it for two reasons beyond the joy of seeing Charlie do his thing. First is the sense in which he was experimenting, like Hitchcock with Rope, seeing how much he could twist his formula and still have a film. Second is the use of the set, the way mundane objects get repurposed in comic, anarchic ways. Proto-Tati, for sure.