For my formal analysis I focused on the short sequence involving the tramp and the minister’s wife in the sheriff’s waiting room, especially taking note of the sounds.
“The Gurgling Duet (Notes)”
Wide shot of the sheriff’s office/ waiting room.
Romantic languid music shifts as the minister and wife pay their weekly visit – into a shorter more staccato comical tune. (The ministers wife trips over the tramp as if tripping on air. She doesn’t acknowledge or say sorry to the tramp.)
With a sip of tea, the music STOPS. (Awkward long shot of minister’s wife staring in the direction of the tramp, but not really at him.)
Individual shots of the two characters, both showing the first signs of gurgles.
Realistic sounds add sound to the silence = dog barking, radio, sound of soda pop.
As the sheriff and minister enter the room again, cheerful music picks back up.
This sequence is a great example of Chaplin’s playing with sound but applying meaning to every simple gurgle. The individual shots of both characters on the bench establishes a clear separation between them, but they are then brought together by their digestive sounds and realistic sounds that add to the silence. The two characters are on the same plane with the same issues, but you wouldn’t know it by the minister’s wife’s expressions. As she trips on the tramp on her way out, however, you can see that the wife has not learned anything from her duet.