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Film / A Dog's Life

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Charlie Chaplin is The Little Tramp, a homeless man very down on his luck but trying to make the best of it. We first see him sleeping in a junkyard, plugging a draft in the fence with his handkerchief, and trying to steal himself breakfast, and escaping the cop who catches him doing it.

Scrappy is a purebred mongrel. In the beginning, it just lies around and looks cute.

The Little Tramp tries to get a job at an employment office and, because of horrible timing for line-switching, fails completely. On his way back, he sees Scrappy in the center of a huge dogfight with many dogs. He takes it upon himself to rescue Scrappy, getting a hole in his pants in the process. He then gives it the last trace of milk in a milk bottle, eventually using its tail for this. (Without Scrappy, he'd have tried to drink it himself.)


Cut to a sausage stand. Scrappy steals two sausages; the Tramp sneaks the entire contents of a plate during periods when the cook isn't looking, except for one when a cop is looking.

Cut to the Green Lantern—dancing free, beer 5 cents. The Little Tramp enters; since no dogs are allowed, he hides Scrappy in his pants. (It had already been established that they were extremely loose pants.) Scrappy's tail sticks out of the hole and is wagging, which gets noticed, and gets unavoidable when the tail wags into a large drum. Then, Scrappy is let out; now that the dog is already there, no one wants to boot it.

An attractive singer with a lovely voice sings. She moves everyone who hears her to tears. When she is done singing, the owner of the Green Lantern suggests she set herself to flirting to attract customers. She focuses her attention on the Tramp—who really doesn't get that sort of thing...


It turns out that you aren't supposed to hang out at the Green Lantern without buying anything, so the Tramp is given the boot. He heads back to the junkyard. Just about then, a very rich and very drunk fella has his wallet full of cash stolen from him; the thieves bury the wallet in the junkyard before the Tramp and Scrappy get there.

If you thought hilarity was ensuing before...

Do not confuse with the one act play of the same name.

The film can be seen here.


  • Babies Ever After: A funny variant. In the last scene we see Charlie and Edna working a little farm. They go inside and look over a little cradle—which contains Scrappy nursing a litter of puppies.
  • Cross-Cast Role: Henry Bergman, who was one of Chaplin's collaborators and stock players for 25 years, here appears as a large woman at the Green Lantern who weeps copiously when the singer sings a sad song.
  • Canine Companion: Charlie takes his dog everywhere. Even to a nightclub. Justified, in that Charlie is homeless.
  • The Chanteuse: Edna Purviance, Chaplin's leading lady in almost all of his films from 1915 to 1923, here plays a singer at the Green Lantern that Charlie falls for.
  • Finagle's Law
  • Hilarity Ensues
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Charlie knocks out one of the thugs and plays him like a puppet to get hold of the money.
  • Pet the Dog: Literally.
  • Slapstick
  • Tap on the Head: At the restaurant, Charlie easily knocks both thugs out with a bottle.
  • The Tramp: He's doing particularly badly in this one, sleeping in a junkyard.


Example of: