Screened as part of NZIFF 2012

Easy Street 1917

Directed by Charles Chaplin

In Easy Street Chaplin’s tramp happily steals from the mission – until love strikes. Screening with Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail.

19 minutes B&W / DCP

Director, Editor


Charles Chaplin
Henry P. Caulfield


Charles Chaplin
Vincent Bryan
Maverick Terrell


Roland Totheroh


Charles Chaplin
Edna Purviance
Eric Campbell

Restored in 2012 by Cineteca di Bologna, Lobster Films and David Shepard at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory

This year the Festival’s popular collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra celebrates two sons of London whose names loom forever large in the movie pantheon: Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock. Composer and frequent Festival visitor Neil Brand hails from Mid Sussex himself. He sees Chaplin’s classic short Easy Street as closely aligned to his London origins. Though shot in California, its streets look like a London slum – and those coppers don’t exactly resemble the LAPD. We couldn’t be happier about presenting Neil’s new scores for Chaplin’s short and Hitchcock’s final silent feature Blackmail on one very lively programme. (We cannot recommend Blackmail for small children.)

In Easy Street Chaplin’s tramp happily steals from the mission – until love strikes. “Edna (Purviance), the missionary’s daughter inspires him to reform, and he accepts the role of policeman… He moves into a Hogarthian slum street, where Eric (Campbell) is already at work balletically beating up the entire populace. Having kissed Eric’s hand by way of supplication, having temporarily gassed him and taken his pulse, the two men engage, inevitably, in a chase… Easy Street is an exquisite short comedy, humour encapsulated in the regular rhythms of light verse.” — Walter Kerr, The Silent Clowns

Screening with Blackmail.