Comedy Movie

Sunnyside (1919)

Charlie works on a farm from 4 a.m. to late at night at the run-down Evergreen Hotel in the rural village of Sunnyside. He has endless duties inside the hotel as well as farm chores. Chaplin’s boss is the local preacher who mistreats him badly. He gets his food and the boss’ on the run (milking a cow into his coffee, holding an chicken over the frying pan to get fried eggs). Charlie’s love interest in the village is the girl played by Edna Purviance. He loves her, but is disliked by her father. One day, while leading some cattle, a steer escapes into the church. Charlie tries to ride it out of harm’s way, but instead is tossed off a small bridge. Unconscious, he dreams of an encounter with four beautiful nymphs who dance with him. Back in reality a city slicker is hurt in a car crash and is being cared for by Edna. He appears to have an eye for Edna too. Chaplin tries to win her back by dressing as the city man does–but his homemade spats only prompt ridicule. When Charlie is rejected after attempting to imitate the slicker, he appears to be preparing to commit suicide. However, the result is ambiguous with the film either having a tragic or a happy ending. Critics have long argued as to whether the final scene is real or a dream.

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