One of Charlie Chaplin’s more famous routines is the table ballet scene from the The Gold Rush from 1925 (linked above). However, my first exposure to the scene was from a small film with a young aspiring actor Johnny Depp. He had recently gotten a lot of good press for “Edward Scissorhands” (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe) and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” I was a young impressionable 23 year old and I loved “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” However, I really loved the goofiness of 1993’s “Benny & Joon” (clip linked below), yes goofiness. I don’t know another word for it. I’ve always loved Depp’s eccentricity. It is a certain something that does remind me of Chaplin however being a cultural critic there are somethings that as an audience strike us very differently. These scenes deserve a closer look. Next week I will follow up with a comparison. I invite readers to do the same.
Charlie Chaplin and the Table Ballet and Benny (Johnny Depp) & Joon and the diner scene