Police (1916 film)

Police is Charlie Chaplin's 14th film with Essanay Studios and was released in 1916. It was made at the Majestic Studio in Los Angeles. Charlie plays an ex-convict who finds life on the outside not to his liking and leads him to breaking into a home with another thief (Wesley Ruggles). Edna Purviance plays the girl living in the home who tries to change him.

Directed byCharlie Chaplin
Produced byJess Robbins
Written byCharlie Chaplin
StarringCharles Chaplin
Edna Purviance
Wesley Ruggles
James T. Kelley
Leo White
John Rand
Fred Goodwins
Billy Armstrong
Snub Pollard
Bud Jamison
Paddy McGuire
George Cleethorpe
CinematographyHarry Ensign
Distributed byGeneral Film Company
Release date
  • May 27, 1916 (1916-05-27)
Running time
34 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


Charlie is released from prison and is immediately swindled by a fake parson. The parson advises Charlie to go straight, but the phony man of the cloth pockets the money Charlie has been given upon being discharged. Broke, Charlie encounters a fellow ex-convict. He convinces Charlie to help him burglarize a house. When they have trouble breaking into the house they have chosen, Charlie simply opens the front door. Edna lives in the house that is being robbed and has called the police. However, Edna is so taken with Charlie's manners that by the time the police arrive to investigate the crime, she lies to them, stating that Charlie is her husband. The police believe her. She gives Charlie a dollar and sends him happily on his way. However, Charlie soon encounters another policeman who recognizes him. Another chase begins.



Reviewer Oscar Cooper wrote in Motion Picture News, "Those who believe that Chaplin's abilities are limited to the mallet, the kick and the spinal curvature walk, should see this picture. They will be disillusioned. They will see a touch of heart interest just at the end of the subject, and they will see that Charlie's stock pantomime includes pathos as well as fooling. But of course, the picture is mainly clever horseplay, beginning with Charlie's exit from prison, and ending with his flight from a policeman."

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