A Burlesque on Carmen


Comedy / Short

IMDb Rating 6 10 1,301


Downloaded 14,342 times
November 3, 2019


Charles Chaplin as Henri Verdoux - Alias Varnay - Alias Bonheur - Alias Floray
Peter Sellers as Mr. Martin
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
279.1 MB
23.976 fps
31 min
P/S N/A / N/A
503.92 MB
23.976 fps
31 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Steffi_P 9 / 10 / 10

"This Darn Hosiery cannot be bought"

If you look at the whole career of that madcap genius Cecil B. DeMille, his style and preoccupations changed considerably over time, but one thing was evident from day one – his unshakeable pomposity and over-confidence. That is why he was always a ripe target for satire. Getting an early shot in on the heels one of DeMille's earliest successes was Charlie Chaplin, with his farcical yet precisely aimed Burlesque on Carmen. These were the days when people would go to see a popular picture many times over. Chaplin too has clearly studied the original, and played upon the familiarity it would have had with audiences of the time. He has mimicked the sets, set-ups and even copied many of the titles verbatim. He even bases gags around very minor aspects of the DeMille film such as the soldiers and smugglers pushing at the door. All this provides a rich environment for Chaplin to tweak into hilariously disrespectful mayhem. This doesn't appear to be an especially popular or well-known short, perhaps because without the genuine little tramp and modern setting it is not considered kosher Charlie. Personally I feel it is one his best Essanay pictures, for a number of reasons. Virtually the whole of Chaplin's act was satirical on some level, whether he was lampooning the upper class, social norms or modern fads, and generally the bigger the target the bigger the laughs. And simply because of its period trappings it allows him to do funny business with props and situations he would never normally get hold of, such as the numerous gags involving his sword. With his semi-faithful recreation of a contemporary drama, you get to see the considerable straight acting talents of Chaplin and his leading lady Edna Purviance, in a role unlike any other she played, but one she is very suited to. You also have John Rand being very funny in his own right, and Leo White getting the lengthiest and most creative pummelling he ever received from Charlie. Burlesque on Carmen is a unique standout in Chaplin's career, but also great fun to watch. All of which brings us to the all-important statistic – Number of kicks up the arse: 0 (although it does contain practically everything else)

Reviewed by Anonymous_Maxine 4 / 10 / 10

"Ain't love grand?"

One of Chaplin's longest films up to that point, Burlesque on Carmen is a clever and surprisingly complex parody of what was then "Prosper Merimee's" well-known story about "Carmen." I was a little confused about the difference between the IMDb's listing of the 1915 Burlesque on Carmen and the 1916 version. Based on the running time I assume that it was the 1915 version that I saw, since the 1916 one is a good 20 minutes longer, and from what I've read, those are 20 unnecessary and unimpressive minutes. From the very beginning, it's clear that Burlesque on Carmen is one of Chaplin's most complex and ambitious efforts to date, starting off with a long back story, told through inter-titles, about the tragic love story of Carmen. Carmen is sent by a band of gypsies ("A band who put the GYP in gypsy."), to seduce a Spanish officer so they can pull off their smuggling operation. It's a clever, Chaplinesque band of criminals, the leader of whom, Lillas Pastia, has "spent 50 years learning to steal, thinking he might be offered a job in politics." On a side note, I've seen some almost misogynistic messages and jokes in some of Chaplin's earlier work, but probably none quite as overt as in this one. Near the beginning of the movie, as the band of gypsies are traveling, there is a scene where the mules and women are loading, and an inter-title explains that "the mules are the ones with long ears." In case you couldn't tell, I guess. Chaplin plays the part of Don Jose, the hapless officer who is to be seduced by Carmen. He is described as "a brave soldier and lover of women." Not exactly a stretch for Chaplin who removed any doubt about his ability to play a convincing comic soldier a few years later in the brilliant Shoulder Arms. And of course, he didn't have to act about being a lover of women. What is different here, of course, is his polished military uniform and straight-backed disciplinary manner, interspersed, of course, with some of his traditional slap-stick moves. He strikes me as a little guy in a position of authority, struggling to maintain the respect of his subordinates by exerting a gruff, stolid exterior. Soon Carmen enters ("Loved by all men under the age of 96…"), and she immediately begins flirting with Charlie. I should mention that for a good majority of the movie, it is surprisingly faithful to the original story, which was full of jealousy and tragedy. Chaplin is strangely convincing as a jealous lover, able to evoke a jealous passion that I've never seen from him. There's at least one scene where he is genuinely a little scary. Chaplin has some great sight gags in the movie, like a hilarious table dance and some classic sword fighting near the end. And his boyish charm and the role of a soldier is also definitely a winning combination, although there is another peculiar stunt involving a group of men pushing a huge door back and forth that wasn't very effective to begin with but just kept going on and on and on, probably about five times longer than it was worth. Although it was interesting that when it finally fell over it clearly was revealed as a movie prop. I always appreciate such glimpses at the old movie sets. The end of the film is it's strongest part. It bears striking resemblance to Romeo and Juliet, but just when you think that Chaplin is going to conduct a major thematic experiment by diverging distantly from his traditional style, there is a hilarious twist that is as vintage Chaplin as anything I've ever seen. Nice work!

Reviewed by Horst_In_Translation 4 / 10 / 10

An unusual film for Chaplin

"A Burlesque on Carmen" is a silent short film from 1915, so this one is of course in black-and-white and it is now already over a century old. The version I watched ran for slightly over half an hour, but I see there's also version out there that run for over 40 minutes. And there is one that features Peter Sellers as narrator, which is a bit strange as this is a silent film like I wrote. is he reading the intertitles? I am not sure, but if you like him , then perhaps that's the version to choose for you. The title already gives away that this is another version of the famous Prosper Mérimée story about Carmen and she is of course played by Chaplin regular Edna Purviance. You will find more than just a few other names in here who were really prolific and successful back in the day, even if their most known works are not necessarily associated with Chaplin, such as Jamison, Turpin or White. From that perspective, it is a bit of an oddity for a Chaplin film, but also from the perspective that literature adaptations are not necessarily anything you'd expect Chaplin to star in, even if he clearly changed the material enough for this to work from a comedic perspective. Overall, I cannot say I enjoyed the watch too much and I give it a thumbs-down, even if it is without a doubt, maybe because of the unusual approach, one of Chaplin's most known short film works. Not recommended.

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