Charlie the janitor love Edna, the pretty bank secretary, but her sweetheart is another Charles, the cashier. One of the best of the Chaplin Essanay comedies, the film's plot is a reworking of his Keystone film, The New Janitor (1914), incorporating a dream sequence inspired by Fred Karno's Jimmy the Fearless. Just as in the Karno sketch - in which Chaplin starred as Jimmy, a downtrodden young man who became a hero in his dreams - in THE BANK Charlie dreams he saves Edna in an attempted bank robbery, only to wake up and discover it was a dream. The film's equivocal ending was new to film comedy, yet such endings became a signature of the Chaplin films.
The memorable close-up of Chaplin in THE BANK, when his note and gift of a few flowers to Edna are rejected, anticipates the ending of City Lights (1931). (Chaplin claimed in 1918 that this was his favorite bit in all his comedies). Chaplin brings the camera closer to his actors in this film, and the use of close-ups to convey thought and emotion is notable. The large sets and impressive city exteriors in the film were the result of yet another move by the Chaplin unit. In June 1915, Chaplin arranged for his remaining productions to be based in the larger quarters afforded by the Majestic Studios located at 651 Fairview Avenue in the Boyle Heights, a neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles.