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The Fireman (1916 film)

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Genre  Short, Comedy
Country  United States
6.6/10 IMDb

6.1/10 Letterboxd

Producer  Henry P. Caulfield
The Fireman (1916 film) movie poster
Language  Silent film English intertitles
Director  Charles Chaplin Edward Brewer (technical director)
Writer  Vincent Bryan, Maverick Terrell
Release date  June 12, 1916 (1916-06-12)
Directors  Charlie Chaplin, Edward Brewer
Screenplay  Charlie Chaplin, Vincent P. Bryan, Maverick Terrell
Cast  Charles Chaplin (Fireman), Edna Purviance (Girl), Lloyd Bacon (Her Father), Eric Campbell (Foreman of the Brigade), Leo White (Owner of Burning House), Charlotte Mineau (Mother)
Similar movies  Pacific Rim, The Artist, Feast, Pluto's Christmas Tree, Mickey and the Seal, Tugboat Mickey

The Fireman is the second film Charlie Chaplin created for Mutual Film Corporation in 1916. Released on June 12, it starred Chaplin as the fireman and Edna Purviance as the daughter to Lloyd Bacon.


The Fireman (1916 film) movie scenes


The Fireman (1916 film) movie scenes

A young girl's father (Bacon) arranges with the local fire chief (Campbell) to have his house burn down so he could collect on the insurance money, in exchange he propose to the fire chief to marry his daughter.

The Fireman (1916 film) movie scenes

However, a real fire breaks out elsewhere in the town. The firemen ignore an inhabitant of the burning building as he tries to alert them to the fire, first by activating the fire alarm, then by phoning the fire station, and then by going to the fire station in person. Eventually, a fireman (Chaplin), alerts the fire chief and the fire company goes to put out the fire.

The Fireman (1916 film) movie scenes

Meanwhile the father set up a fire in the basement of his own house before realizing that his daughter is still inside in the upper floor. The fireman (Chaplin) who is in love with the daughter abandons the first house in fire to rush and heroically climbs the outside of the building to save her.

Production background

The film shows some early morning street scenes in the surrounding Los Angeles area.

The film makes use of reversing the film several times for comic effect: sliding up the fireman's pole, reversing the horses, hurrying back to station (in reverse) when he forgets the crew etc. The huge water tank in the station also comically has a second function as the coffee machine. A lot of the kicking in the film is clearly unfaked and fairly violent.


  • Charles Chaplin as Fireman
  • Edna Purviance as Girl
  • Lloyd Bacon as Her Father
  • Eric Campbell as Foreman of the Brigade
  • Leo White as Owner of Burning House
  • Albert Austin as Fireman
  • John Rand as Fireman
  • James T. Kelley as Fireman
  • Frank J. Coleman as Fireman
  • Sound version

    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.


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