- Every Monday [smiths] will be picking the best film screening of the week, both locally and around London, for lovers of the big screen.
Easy Street is the ninth and most famous film in Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Mutual Film Corporation’ series. Mutual built Chaplin his very own studio and paid him a salary of $670,000 per year turning him into the highest paid entertainer in the world at the time. Having had total freedom over his works, he later described this period as the most inventive and liberating of his career.
Chaplin plays a vagabond who, inspired by an attractive mission worker, decides to turn his life around and get a job as a policeman in Easy Street – the roughest street in town. It isn’t long until he starts getting into trouble with the neighbourhood’s most notorious bully. Will he manage to restore the peace in this slapstick showdown?
Easy Street serves as a representation of a poverty stricken, drug-afflicted and violent London slum in Victorian times, turning this film into a slapstick comedy and a powerful social critique at once. The personal importance of the film for Chaplin can be noted in the reference to his place of birth in the title. Chaplin himself grew up in East Street, South London, referred to as a ‘dreary swamp’ for the poor living conditions. However, if you are going to burst out into tears during this film chances are that it will be solely because of the laughter.
The screening is the final part of the Barbican’s ‘Autumn Silent Film & Live Music’ series and will come with live musical accompaniment by the Guildhall School Jazz Department. Tickets are £10.50 for students and £9.50 if you’re a member, and the show starts at 3pm.