The New Janitor

The New Janitor was the 27th comedy from Keystone Studios to feature Charlie Chaplin. The film is arguably one of his best for the studio, and a precursor to a key Essanay Studios short, The Bank. The film also demonstrates the differences that Chaplin had with Keystone comedy in that it is a coherent whole in which the stock characters actually fill some emotional center. Chaplin brings a certain complexity to his janitor, unusual to the comedy factory of Mack Sennett. The film, which stars among Sennett's bit players Jess Dandy, Al St. John, John T. Dillon, and Helen Carruthers, is far more centered and clear in direction. Comedy flows from within the story rather than as a by-product of story. After all this is a typical bank robbery storyline.

The New Janitor
Scene with Dillon and Chaplin
Directed byCharlie Chaplin
Produced byMack Sennett
CinematographyFrank D. Williams
Distributed byMutual Film
Release date
  • September 24, 1914 (1914-09-24)
Running time
16 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English (Intertitles)


The hero, a janitor played by Chaplin, is fired from work for accidentally knocking his bucket of water out the window and onto his boss, the chief banker (Dandy). Meanwhile, one of the junior managers (Dillon) is being threatened with exposure by his bookie for his unpaid gambling debts. Thus the manager decides to steal from the company. He is caught in the act of raiding the vault by the bank secretary (Carruthers) who rings for help. Chaplin comes to the rescue only to be misjudged by the chief banker as the thief. The secretary fingers the manager and Charlie receives a just reward and a handshake for foiling the robbery.


Moving Picture World commented, "...A ripping good comedy number with Chas. Champman [sic] playing the part of the janitor. He interpolates a lot of his inimitable funny business and the plot is better than usual."

Motion Picture News also got Chaplin's surname wrong in its review: "The comical Charles Chapman [sic] in a laughable farce that will arouse peals of laughter from any audience."


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