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Charlie Chaplin was still working out the kinks in his Little Tramp
character with this rather tame comedy of errors. This one generated barely
a chuckle from me, perhaps due to the lack of chemistry between Chaplin and
his so-called leading lady in this film, playing a landlady whom everyone
thinks Charlie is in love with.
Perhaps had Mabel Normand been given the role of the landlady, there might
have been a bit more spark. Certainly Chaplin's later leading lady, Edna
Purviance, would have been perfect in the role. But such as not to
There are a few funny moments, such as when Charlie bats a tennis ball out
of sight (reflecting perhaps the real-life Chaplin's growing interest in the
sport?), and a pointless though funny sequence in which Charlie raids a
fridge and gets drunk.
The best and funniest sequence comes near the end when the landlady's son,
who secretly photographed the comedies of errors between his mom, his dad,
and Charlie, puts on a special "parents gone wild"
slide show and the usual Keystone mayhem ensues. The boy, incidentally, is
played by Gordon Griffith, who appeared in a number of Chaplin's Keystone
comedies before making a name for himself as Tarzan's son.
The Star Boarder falls somewhere in the middle ground of Chaplin's Keystone
comedies. There's enough humor to hold one's interest, but it can't be
considered one of his better works.
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