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Film / Sunnyside

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Just Charlie and some wood nymphs

Sunnyside (1919) is a short film (34 minutes) by Charlie Chaplin.

In this one Charlie is a very unfortunate farm hand who is constantly abused and victimized by his tyrannical boss. Charlie gets up at 4 am and works until late at night, milking the farmer's cows, harvesting the farmer's eggs, and also working in the shabby hotel that is the farmer's other business. The one bright spot in Charlie's existence is the pretty girl in the village (played by Chaplin's regular female lead, Edna Purviance), whom he is romancing. Edna has actually accepted his ring, but when a sophisticated rich guy from the city arrives in town, Charlie's romance is threatened.



  • All Cloth Unravels: Part of Charlie's pathetic effort to imitate the rich city chap includes donning thick woolen socks, to imitate the city chap's fancy spats. One of the townspeople notices a loose thread hanging from Charlie's sock and grabs it. Charlie's entire sock unravels.
  • All Just a Dream: Not all, but most of the second part of the film, everything after the city slicker arrives and becomes a rival to Charlie, is a dream, as revealed after Charlie is Driven to Suicide only to wake up. Maybe—see Gainax Ending below.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: One visual gag involves a father-son pair, the father being a tiny little man and the son being a huge hulking fat kid. The dad's clearly in charge.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Charlie sending his brother off blindfolded to wander in the street as cars whip past.
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  • Deleted Scene: A scene was cut of Charlie being an improvised barber whose customer is more victim, the idea would later be used in The Circus and The Great Dictator.
  • Down on the Farm: Charlie is not having a very happy existence.
  • Dream Sequence: A true Big-Lipped Alligator Moment in which Charlie, who has conked himself in the head after falling off a footbridge, has a dream in which he goes flitting around the meadow with four fairy nymphs in white dresses with garlands in their hair. It comes out of nowhere and doesn't affect the plot in any way.
  • Driven to Suicide: In despair after the girl rejects him, Charlie walks out of the road and stands in front of a car. He closes his eyes and waits—and the whole incident is revealed A's Charlie's' bad dream. Maybe—see Gainax Ending below.
  • Dying Dream: Although this may not be the intended ending, it's entirely possible to see the last scene, in which Charlie sends the city chap packing, as the actual dream, a Dying Dream after he's hit by the car. See Gainax Ending below.
  • Gainax Ending: Here is how the film ends: Charlie, grief-stricken after his girl rejects him, commits suicide by stepping in front of a speeding car. This is revealed to be a dream when Charlie wakes up in the hotel, and instead we get a Happy Ending in which Charlie embraces his girl and sends the city chap packing. However, there is nothing intrinsic to the narrative saying which part of the film is the dream. It is equally possible to assume that Charlie did get hit by the car and the last part, with Charlie winning his girl and the city chap leaving, is his dream as he dies. Critics have been arguing about how to interpret the end to this movie ever since.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: The farmer is probably doomed to a repetitive motion injury from constantly kicking Charlie in the butt. In one scene the farmer aims a kick, but misses Charlie and instead slams his foot into the metal bed frame. Charlie politely moves in range so the farmer can get his kick in.
  • Parlor Games: Charlie gets rid of his third-wheel brother by starting a game of blind man's bluff, and then luring his brother out the door. And into traffic.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Part of the city chap's appeal is a nifty little cigarette lighter concealed in the head of his walking stick.
  • You Have to Have Jews: In the second dream, where Charlie is rejected by Edna, her father is seen sitting in his comfy chair Reading a newspaper printed entirely in Hebraic letters. He even wears a kipa.

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