One A.M. (1916 film)

One A.M. is a unique Charlie Chaplin silent film created for Mutual Film in 1916. It was the first film he starred in alone, except for a brief scene of Albert Austin playing a cab driver.

One A.M.
Directed byCharles Chaplin
Edward Brewer (technical director)
Produced byHenry P. Caulfield
Written byCharles Chaplin (scenario)
Vincent Bryan (scenario)
Maverick Terrell (scenario)
StarringCharles Chaplin
CinematographyWilliam C. Foster
Roland Totheroh
Edited byCharles Chaplin
Distributed byMutual Film Corporation
Release date
  • August 7, 1916 (1916-08-07)
Running time
2 Reels (full length unknown)
c. 34 mins.
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles


The film opens with a scene of a wealthy young man (Chaplin) arriving at his house in a taxi late at night after a night of heavy drinking. He struggles with the car door when exiting the car and then in paying the taxi driver (Albert Austin). When he gets to his front door, he thinks that he has forgotten the key and has to enter through the window. While climbing in through the window, he steps into a fishbowl that's placed underneath it and then almost falls down when the carpet underneath him slides. After finding his balance again, he goes through his pockets and realises that the key has been there all the while. He goes back through the window and enters through the front door.

Inside the house, the furniture and other inanimate objects become almost insurmountable obstacles for the drunk. He struggles to balance on the sliding carpets and wonders whether he is wearing skates. Falling down, he lands between a tiger rug and a stuffed Eurasian lynx, which terrify him as he thinks they are real. He goes over to the table and tries to pour himself a drink, but first he accidentally spins the table top around and then does not manage to pour the drinks inside a glass. He then unsuccessfully attempts to light a cigarette, and then tries to head up the stairs to his bedroom. He fails several times in climbing them; a large cuckoo clock on the upstairs landing also poses a problem, due to its pendulum's implausibly wide swing. He becomes increasingly creative with his attempts to climb the stairs, for example by using mountain climbing gear.

When he finally reaches his bedroom, he struggles to open his Murphy bed and ends up wrecking it. He gives up on the idea of sleeping in his bed and goes to bathroom. He enters the shower and accidentally turns it on. Soaked, he then gets into the bathtub and falls asleep under a towel.


A reviewer for the Louisville Herald wrote, "Charlie, by himself, creates all the action that is necessary to produce the laughs for which he has become noted, and there is no doubt that this is the most exacting role the comedian has ever essayed."


Although the film's title suggests the action is supposed to occur at about one a.m., when Charlie arrives home in the taxi cab, it is quite bright outside. This is presumably due to the impracticality of night shooting at the time.

Edna Purviance's absence from the cast was a rarity. Apart from Chaplin's first film after leaving Keystone Studios, His New Job, One A.M. was the only Chaplin film from 1915 to 1923 not to feature Purviance in some role.


Sound version

In 1932, Amedee Van Beuren of Van Beuren Studios, purchased Chaplin's Mutual comedies for $10,000 each, added music by Gene Rodemich and Winston Sharples and sound effects, and re-released them through RKO Radio Pictures. Chaplin had no legal recourse to stop the RKO release.[1]

See also


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