Sunnyside (film)

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Film poster.
Directed byCharles Chaplin
Written byCharles Chaplin
StarringCharles Chaplin
Edna Purviance
Henry Bergman
Tom Wilson
Olive Ann Alcorn
CinematographyRoland Totheroh
Edited byCharles Chaplin
Distributed byFirst National
Associated First National Pictures (1922) (USA) (theatrical) (re-release)
Fox Video (1992) (USA) (VHS)
Madacy Entertainment (1997-1999) (USA) (VHS & DVD)
Image Entertainment (2000) (USA) (DVD)
Koch Vision (2000) (USA) (DVD)
MK2 Diffusion (2001) (World-wide) (all media)
Reel Media International (2004) (USA) (video)
Warner Home Video (2004) (USA) (DVD)
Reel Media International (2007) (World-wide) (all media)
Release date
June 15, 1919
Running time
34 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

Sunnyside is a 1919 American short silent film written, directed and starring Charlie Chaplin. It was his third film for First National Pictures.

Plot summary[edit]

Charlie works on a farm from 4 a.m. to late at night at the run-down Evergreen Hotel in the rural village of Sunnyside. He has endless duties inside the hotel as well as farm chores. Chaplin's boss is the local preacher who mistreats him badly. He gets his food and the boss' on the run (milking a cow into his coffee, holding an chicken over the frying pan to get fried eggs). Charlie's love interest in the village is the girl played by Edna Purviance. He loves her, but is disliked by her father. One day, while leading some cattle, a steer escapes into the church. Charlie tries to ride it out of harm's way, but instead is tossed off a small bridge. Unconscious, he dreams of an encounter with four beautiful nymphs who dance with him. Back in reality a city slicker is hurt in a car crash and is being cared for by Edna. He appears to have an eye for Edna too. Chaplin tries to win her back by dressing as the city man does—but his homemade spats only prompt ridicule. When Charlie is rejected after attempting to imitate the slicker, he appears to be preparing to commit suicide. However, the result is ambiguous with the film either having a tragic or a happy ending. Critics have long argued as to whether the final scene is real or a dream.

Deleted Scene[edit]

The 1983 documentary Unknown Chaplin contains a deleted scene in which Charlie also serves as the hotel's hapless barber. Albert Austin plays a man who has come in for a shave and gets more than he expected from the Evergreen Hotel's inept barber.



The June 16, 1919 issue of The New York Times contains this review:

"Charlie Chaplin is at the Strand in his latest—"Sunnyside"—so, of course, those who go there will laugh. Chaplin is a farm hand and country hotel clerk this time. He is at his best when depending upon his inimitable pantomime, and least amusing when indulging in slap-stick, in which he is not distinguished from countless other comedians. There is cleverness in "Sunnyside" and good pantomime, but, also, too much slap-stick.[1]

The nymph dance in the dream sequence has been recognized as being a tribute to or parody of the ballet L'après-midi d'un faune by Vaslav Nijinsky.[2][3]


  1. ^ "THE SCREEN". The New York Times. June 16, 1919. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  2. ^ Chaplin, Lita Grey; Vance, Jeffrey (1998). Wife of the Life of the Party: A Memoir. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-8108-3432-4.
  3. ^ Porter, Jenelle (2010). Dance with Camera. University of Pennsylvania: Institute of Contemporary Art. p. 148.

External links[edit]