The Fireman

The Fireman is the second film Charlie Chaplin distributed by the Mutual Film Corporation in 1916. Released on June 12, it starred Chaplin as the fireman and Edna Purviance as the daughter to Lloyd Bacon.

The Plot

A beautiful girl’s father (Bacon) arranges with the local fire chief (Campbell) to have his house burn down so he can collect the insurance money. In exchange for the chief’s complicity in the arson, the father will permit the fire chief to marry his daughter.

However, a real fire breaks out elsewhere in the town. The firemen ignore an inhabitant of the burning building as he tries to alert them to the fire, first by activating the fire alarm, then by phoning the fire station, and then by going to the fire station in person. Eventually, a fireman (Chaplin), alerts the fire chief and the company extinguishes the fire.

Meanwhile, the father deliberately sets a fire in the basement of his own house without realizing his daughter is still inside the house on the upper floor. Upon knowing his daughter is in mortal danger from the fire, he rushes to find the fire chief to cancel the arrangement not to extinguish his house fire. The fireman (Chaplin), who is also in love with the daughter, abandons the first house fire to rush to the second one. He heroically scales the outside of the building to save her.

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