Little Tramp, Big Screen

A showcase of silent-era comedy

Should we be surprised that Mr. Bean’s Holiday is a big, fat flop? Maybe it’ll take another 100 years for Rowan Atkinson to be considered a genius, or not, like Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), who’s featured in four short-film programs through October 1. Dennis James will introduce the two-reelers (that’s about 22 minutes each), grouped into threes on successive Mondays. Then he fires up the Wurlitzer organ to underscore the comedy. Tonight he’ll pull out the stops to silent titles including The Vagabond, in which the little tramp is a penniless violin player who bravely rescues a girl from evil gypsies! (It’s 1916, people, so ethnic stereotypes abound.) And then he loses her! And then it turns out the girl (Edna Purviance) may actually be a rich heiress! Will they ever be reunited? Will those damn gypsies spoil their happiness? You’ll have to watch the comic melodrama to find out—and maybe get hooked for the rest of the series.

Mon., Sept. 10, 7 p.m.

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