Chaplin Takes on the Sterling
Charlie Chaplin once said that in the early days they didn't have scripts just ideas and would go somewhere with just a couple of people and make a movie. That along with the fact the movie industry was a very different beast back then explains why having made his movie debut in "Making a Living" on the 2nd February 1914 Chaplin churned out one movie after another and why "Tango Tangles" released just 1 month later was his 7th movie.
As for "Tango Tangles" well there is no Little Tramp in this short just a clean shaven Charlie at a dance where slightly tipsy he flirts with a costume girl who just happens to already have a couple of admirers leading to a slapstick fight. Unlike some of Chaplin's earlier movies this is very much a movie with a script as well as a director with a vision of what he wanted. And that certainly makes a difference as whilst those movies which appear to be made up on the spot highlight Chaplin's natural comedic talent this has a story which is simple enough to follow.
But having said that of course with any Chaplin movie you are watching for his comical creativity and he doesn't disappoint despite having shed his usual character. But what stands out is that Chaplin has an equally talented supporting cast which seems him tangling wonderfully with Ford Sterling who at times steals the movie from him and the always entertaining Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle.
What this all boils down to is that "Tango Tangles" is an entertaining early example of Charlie Chaplin playing someone other than the iconic Little Tramp. But it is a movie where at times Chaplin is over shadowed by Ford Sterling whose comic abilities sweep the carpet from underneath the great actor.
n.b - "Tango Tangles" which is also known as "Charlie's Recreation" is a movie which appears to have fallen into the public domain as have some of Chaplin's other early movies. But this one is often found online to watch wrongly titled as just "Recreation" which was in fact his 23rd movie released in August of 1914.