Film: A Dog’s Life
Director: Charles Chaplin
Performers: Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Scraps the dog
Breed(s) featured: Terrier mix, collie mixes and other “thoroughbred mongrels”
Production Information: First National Pictures, 1918 (USA)

The Little Tramp is uncomplicated and sincere and always kind to the underdogs. So when he spots a little mutt being marauded by a pack of street curs, of course he charges to the rescue.

With his new companion, “Scraps the thoroughbred mongrel,” the Little Tramp has to figure new ways to get about in an unfriendly world. Ever one to thumb his nose at authority, he sneaks his friend into the dance hall, where he meets lovely Edna.

Leash in hand, they bop about the dance floor. Even when the Tramp is courting the girl, the pup doesn’t leave his side. A lesser director would have conveniently found a way for the leash to “disappear” while focusing on the antics of the two humans, continuity be damned. Instead, Chaplin smartly incorporates the dog into the kinetic comedy.

Other thugs and misadventures intervene, but Scraps remains at the Tramp’s side until the very happy end.

The whole film is easily found on YouTube. It’s a 33-minute instant moodlifter. Since we’re getting hit with some dreary weather blahs this weekend, I’ll be plugging through a few Chaplin shorts myself. Enjoy!

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