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The Masquerader (1914)

The Masquerader starring Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Chester Conklin —originally released August 27, 1914

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The Masquerader - Charlie Chaplin revealing himself as the beautiful woman

The Masquerader – Charlie Chaplin revealing himself as the beautiful woman

In The Masquerader, we see Charlie Chaplin playing three different parts—a variation of himself, as an actor at the Keystone Studio, as Charlie the Little Tramp, and as a female impersonator.   The Masquerader begins with Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle getting made up at the Keystone Studio.   A very funny bit of slapstick happens here, as Charlie and Fatty are on opposite sides of a makeup table, with a divider blocking them from each other’s side.   Charlie tries to steal a drink from Fatty’s bottle, but Fatty sees it coming, and substitutes a different bottle—which Charlie ‘borrows’ a drink from, only to spit it out immediately.   Once made up as the Little Tramp, Charlie Chaplin ruins the scene being filmed, and is summarily fired by the director.

Not giving up, Charlie disguises himself as a beautiful young lady, and re-enters the studio, where the same director is smitten by ‘her’ beauty, and not only hires ‘her’ but gives her the men’s dressing room as well, over the protests of the male actors.   Soon enough, Charlie Chaplin reveals his deception, which leads into a typical Keystone chase, including throwing bricks.   As Charlie tries to escape, he jumps into a movie prop well, not realizing that it’s a real well—the film ends with Charlie Chaplin splashing in the water as the other actors laugh at his predicament, and the final title card reads, ‘Well, Well’

The Masquerade is a different Charlie Chaplin short film, but funny and well worth watching.

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