The Rink, a silent film from 1916, was Charlie Chaplin's eighth film for Mutual Films. The film co-starred Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Henry Bergman, and Albert Austin, and is best known for showcasing Chaplin's roller skating skills. Chaplin's obvious skill on roller skates surprised many of his fans, but Charlie was an experienced performer. As a touring vaudevillian with Fred Karno's pantomime troupe, Chaplin appeared in a roller-skating skit in which he displayed a talent for comedic falls—and the ability to cause other skaters to topple.

The Rink
Theatrical poster to The Rink
Directed byCharles Chaplin
Edward Brewer (technical director)
Written byCharles Chaplin (scenario)
Vincent Bryan (scenario)
Maverick Terrell (scenario)
Produced byHenry P. Caulfield
StarringCharles Chaplin
Edna Purviance
Eric Campbell
Henry Bergman
Albert Austin
CinematographyRoland Totheroh
George C. Zalibra
Edited byCharles Chaplin
Distributed byMutual Film Corporation
Release date
  • December 4, 1916 (1916-12-04)
Running time
24 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguagesSilent film
English intertitles
The Rink

Plot edit

Charlie is an inept and sometimes clumsy waiter at a restaurant. He is serving one of his customers, the hot-tempered Mr. Stout. Charlie determines his bill by examining what he has spilled on his suit. While he is not a great server, Charlie is an excellent skater at the nearby roller rink. He meets a girl there and saves her from the unwanted attentions of the same Mr. Stout he earlier encountered at the restaurant. The grateful girl invites Charlie to a skating party. Charlie accepts and attends the party in top hat and tails. He again encounters the volatile Mr. Stout and runs afoul of Mrs. Stout. While skating, Charlie accidentally falls on her and pulls down her skirt. The skating party quickly descends into a riot. The police are called to restore order, but Charlie escapes by deftly rolling away with his cane hooked to the back of a moving automobile.

Cast edit

Reception edit

A reviewer from Variety positively wrote, "There is plenty of fun provided by [Chaplin] on the rollers and he displayed a surprising cleverness on them. A number of funny falls occurred as was looked for, with Charlie outshining and outwitting any of the others on the floor."

Sound version edit

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]

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