Silent Sunday: Tango Tangles (1914)


Mack Sennett arranged for Keystone’s most important comedians to improvise a film set in a dance hall to capitalize on the names of his actors and America’s tango dance craze.  Charles Chaplin, Roscoe Arbuckle, Ford Sterling, and Chester Conklin were let loose on the unsuspecting extras to uproarious results.


Not only does the film feature an improvised script by the comic stalwarts, but it is a rarity in that it features Roscoe Arbuckle outside his “Fatty” persona and Chaplin sans tramp costume and mustache.


Chaplin plays a handsome, if somewhat inebriated dandy with eyes for the hat-check girl (Minta Durfee).  Arbuckle plays a musician, also with eyes for the hat-check girl.  Sterling the bandleader, who competes with Arbuckle and Chaplin for the girl’s affections.  The film’s best moment is the drunken bout between Chaplin and Sterling.  The film is a non-stop slapstick masterpiece…even without Fatty or the Tramp.

Keep an eye out for Chester Conklin dressed as a police officer.

Chaplin at Keystone


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