Published on July 1, 2016
The Cure is a 1917 short comedy film written and directed by Charlie Chaplin.
Chaplin plays a drunkard who checks into a health spa to dry out, but brings along a big suitcase full of alcohol. Along the way he aggravates a large man suffering from gout, evades him and encounters a beautiful young woman who encourages him to stop drinking. However, when the hotel owner learns his employees are getting drunk off Charlie’s liquor, he calls an employee and orders him to have the liquor thrown out the window.
The drunk employee hurls the bottles through the window, straight into the spa’s health waters. The well becomes spurious with alcohol, sending the spa’s inhabitants into a dancing stupor. Chaplin, encouraged by his new love to get sober, drinks from the spurious spa, gets drunk and offends her. She leaves him in anger and walks away. Charlie walks back to the door unsteadily, when he bumps into the large man, tripping him off his wheel chair and landing him into the alcoholic well.
The next morning there are plenty of hangovers, but Chaplin turns sober, walks out and finds the lady. Realizing what had happened, she forgives him. They walk ahead, just then he accidentally steps into the liquor-laden well.
One introduction which has since been added to the film explains that in 1917 drunkenness was a serious problem in the working class, so to keep it funny Chaplin changed from his “Little Tramp” character to an upper-class fop. Gout was at the time believed to be a disease of the wealthy, which is why Eric Campbell’s character has it.