Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognised as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the toothbrush moustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, and a funny walk. Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in Walworth, London, England on April 16, 1889, to Hannah Harriet Pedlingham (Hill) and Charles Chaplin, both music hall performers, who were married on June 22, 1885. After Charles Sr. separated from Hannah to perform in New York City, Hannah then tried to resurrect her stage career. Unfortunately, her singing voice had a tendency to break at unexpected moments. When this happened, the stage manager spotted young Charlie standing in the wings and led him on stage, where five-year-old Charlie began to sing a popular tune. Charlie and his half-brother, Syd Chaplin, spent their lives in and out of charity homes and workhouses between their mother's bouts of insanity. Hannah was committed to Cane Hill Asylum in May 1903 and lived there until 1921, when Chaplin moved her to California. Chaplin began his official acting career at the age of eight, touring with the Eight Lancashire Lads. At age 18, he began touring with Fred Karno's vaudeville troupe, joining them on the troupe's 1910 United States tour. He travelled west to California in December 1913 and signed on with Keystone Studios' popular comedy director Mack Sennett, who had seen Chaplin perform on stage in New York. Charlie soon wrote his brother Syd, asking him to become his manager. While at Keystone, Chaplin appeared in and directed 35 films, starring as the Little Tramp in nearly all.
In November 1914, he left Keystone and signed on at Essanay, where he made 15 films. In 1916, he signed on at Mutual and made 12 films. In June 1917, Chaplin signed up with First National Studios, after which he built Chaplin Studios. In 1919, he and Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D. W. Griffith formed United Artists (U.A.). Chaplin's life and career was full of scandal and controversy. His first big scandal was during World War I, during which time his loyalty to England, his home country, was questioned. He had never applied for American citizenship, but claimed that he was a "paying visitor" to the United States. Many British citizens called Chaplin a coward and a slacker. This and his other career eccentricities sparked suspicion with FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), who believed that he was injecting Communist propaganda into his films. Chaplin's later film The Great Dictator (1940), which was his first "talkie", also created a stir. In the film, Chaplin plays a humorous caricature of Adolf Hitler. Some thought the film was poorly done and in bad taste. However, the film grossed over $5 million and earned five Academy Award Nominations. Another scandal occurred when Chaplin briefly dated 22-year-old Joan Barry. However, Chaplin's relationship with Barry came to an end in 1942, after a series of harassing actions from her. In May 1943, Barry returned to inform Chaplin that she was pregnant and filed a paternity suit, claiming that the unborn child was his. During the 1944 trial, blood tests proved that Chaplin was not the father, but at the time, blood tests were inadmissible evidence and he was ordered to pay $75 a week until the child turned 21. Chaplin was also scrutinized for his support in aiding the Russian struggle against the invading Nazis during World War II, and the United States government questioned his moral and political views, suspecting him of having Communist ties. For this reason, HUAC subpoenaed him in 1947. However, HUAC finally decided that it was no longer necessary for him to appear for testimony. Conversely, when Chaplin and his family travelled to London for the premier of Limelight (1952), he was denied re-entry to the United States. In reality, the government had almost no evidence to prove that he was a threat to national security. Instead, he and his wife decided to settle in Switzerland. Chaplin was married four times and had a total of 11 children. In 1918, he married Mildred Harris and they had a son together, Norman Spencer Chaplin, who only lived three days. Chaplin and Mildred were divorced in 1920. He married Lita Grey in 1924, who had two sons, Charles Chaplin Jr. and Sydney Chaplin. They were divorced in 1927. In 1936, Chaplin married Paulette Goddard and his final marriage was to Oona O'Neill (Oona Chaplin), daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill in 1943. Oona gave birth to eight children: Geraldine Chaplin, Michael Chaplin, Josephine Chaplin, Victoria Chaplin, Eugene Chaplin, Jane Chaplin, Annette-Emilie Chaplin and Christopher Chaplin. In contrast to many of his boisterous characters, Chaplin was a quiet man who kept to himself a great deal. He also had an "un-millionaire" way of living. Even after he had accumulated millions, he continued to live in shabby accommodations. In 1921, Chaplin was decorated by the French government for his outstanding work as a film maker, and was elevated to the rank of Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1952. In 1972, he was honoured with an Academy Award for his "incalculable effect in making motion pictures the art form of the century." He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1975 New Years Honours List. No formal reason for the honour was listed. The citation simply reads "Charles Spencer Chaplin, Film Actor and Producer". Chaplin's other works included musical scores he composed for many of his films. He also authored two autobiographical books, "My Autobiography" (1964) and its companion volume, "My Life in Pictures" (1974). Chaplin died at age 88 of natural causes on December 25, 1977 at his home in Vevey, Switzerland. His funeral was a small and private Anglican ceremony according to his wishes. In 1978, Chaplin's corpse was stolen from its grave and was not recovered for three months; he was re-buried in a vault surrounded by cement. Six of Chaplin's films have been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress: The Immigrant (1917), The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940). Charlie Chaplin was considered one of the greatest film makers in the history of American cinema, whose movies were and still are popular throughout the world, and have even gained notoriety as time progresses. His films show, through the Little Tramp's positive outlook on life in a world full of chaos, that the human spirit has and always will remain the same:- Mini Biography By Ed Ste
Making A Living
(also known as Doing His Best, A Busted Johnny, Troubles, Take My Picture) is the first film starring Charlie Chaplin. It premiered on February 2, 1914. Chaplin plays Edgar English, a lady-charming swindler who runs afoul of the Keystone Kops It was written and directed by Henry Lehrman.
Kid Auto Races at Venice (also known as The Pest) is a 1914 American film starring Charles Chaplin in which his “Little Tramp” character makes his first appearance in a film exhibited before the public. The first film to be produced that featured the character was actually Mabel’s Strange Predicament, it was shot a few days before Kid Auto Races but released two days after it.
Mabel's Strange Predicament is a 1914 American film starring Mabel Normand and Charles Chaplin, notable for being the first film for which Chaplin donned ‘The Tramp’ costume. In a hotel lobby a heavily drunk ‘Tramp’ runs into an elegant lady, Mabel, who gets tied up in her dog's leash, and falls down. He later runs into her in the hotel corridor, locked out of her room. They run through various rooms. Mabel ends up in the room of an elderly husband where she hides under the bed. Enter the jealous wife, who soon attacks Mabel, her husband, and Mabel's lover, not to mention the staggeringly drunken tramp.
A Thief Catcher is a one-reel 1914 American Comedy Film, produced by Mack Sennett for his Keystone Film Company, directed by Ford Sterling and starring Sterling, Mack Swain, Edgar Kennedy and Charles Chaplin as a policeman. Chaplin had claimed in interviews that he had played a bit-role as a policeman while at Keystone Studios
Between Showers is a 1914 short film made by Keystone Studios and directed by Henry Lehrman It starred Charlie Chaplin, Ford Sterling, Emma Bell Clifton and Chester Conklin. Chaplin and Sterling play two young men, Masher and Rival Masher, who fight over the chance to help a young woman (Clifton) cross a muddy street. Sterling first sees the woman trying to cross and offers her an umbrella he stole from a policeman. He asks her to wait for him as he goes to get something to help her. Chaplin comes along and offers the woman to help her cross the street as well and wait for his return. While Sterling and Chaplin go to get logs, a policeman (Conklin) lifts the woman across the street. When Sterling returns with the log, he is indignant that the woman did not wait for him to come back to help her cross the muddy street and demands the umbrella back. When the woman refuses, they engage in a fight which eventually involves Chaplin.
A Film Johnnie is a 1914 American-made Motion Picture starring Charles Chaplin, Rorscoe Arbuckle and Mabel Normand. Charlie goes to the movies and falls in love with a girl on the screen. He goes to Keystone Studios to find her. He disrupts the shooting of a film, and a fire breaks out. Charlie is blamed, gets squirted with a fire-hose, and is shoved by the female star. The title of the film is a variation on the term "Stage Door Johnnie".
Tango Tangles is a 1914 American film comedy short starring Charles Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle. The action takes place in a dance hall, with a drunken Chaplin, Ford Sterling, and the huge, menacing, and acrobatic Arbuckle fighting over a girl. The supporting cast also features Chester Conklin and Minita Durfee.
His Favourite Pastime is a 1914 American comedy film starring Charlie Chaplin. Charlie gets drunk in the bar. He steps outside, meets a pretty woman, tries to flirt with her, only to retreat after the woman's father returns. Returning to the bar, Charlie drinks some more and engages in rogue behaviours with others. He finally leaves the bar, sees the woman leaving, follows the woman home, and proceeds to make a nuisance of himself, eventually getting kicked out of the house.
Cruel Cruel Love is a 1914 American comedy silent film made at the Keystone Studios and starring Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin plays a character quite different from the Little Tramp for which he would become famous. In this short Keystone film, Chaplin is instead a rich, upper-class gentleman (Lord Helpus) whose romance is endangered when his girlfriend (played by Minta Durfee) sees him being embraced by her maid and jumps to the wrong conclusion. She angrily sends Lord Helpus away, saying she never wants to see him again. Distraught, when Lord Helpus arrives home he is determined to end his life. He swallows what he thinks is a glass of poison and envisions himself being tortured in Hell. Not long afterward, the girlfriend's gardener and maid explain to Minta that Lord Helpus was not flirting at all. Minta quickly sends a note of apology to Lord Helpus. upon reading it, Lord Helpus flies into a panic and summons an ambulance to help him before he dies from the fatal dose of poison. There is no danger of Lord Helpus expiring: His butler had stealthily switched the liquid in the glass to harmless water.
The Star Boarder is a 1914 American short comedy film starring Charlie Chaplin. The film is also known as ‘The Landlady's Pet’, its 1918 American reissue title. Charlie, a resident in a boarding house, is the favorite of his landlord's wife. His fellow male boarders are jealous of the situation and dislike Charlie because of it. They arrange to frighten him with a dummy. Charlie is frightened a runs to the police. Meanwhile, a tramp has hidden himself in a cupboard. The police find him, making Charlie a hero for the moment. The mischievous young son of the landlord, however, has taken a series of compromising photographs and displays them to everyone in a magic lantern show. Two scandals are revealed: One photo shows Charlie kissing the proprietor's wife. Another shows the proprietor flirting with another woman.
Mabel at the Wheel is a 1914 American Motion starring Charles Chaplin and Mabel Normand, and directed by Mabel Normand and Mack Sennett. Charlie offers Mabel a ride on his two-seater Motorcycle, which she accepts in preference to his rival's racing car. Unfortunately as they go over a bump, she falls off into a puddle. The rival, who has followed in his car, picks up the now stranded Mabel. He lets her drive, sitting tight beside her. Charlie at last notices she is gone and falls off the bike. He sees them together now stopped and standing beside the car. They leave the car for a short while and Charlie lets down the rear tyre. His rival returns and is furious. They throw rocks at Charlie and he throws them back. The rival's friend appears and gets caught up in the rock-throwing confusion. We cut to "The Auto Race" where Charlie hovers round the cars. The drivers usher him away when they see he has a sharp pin. Charlie stands puffing heavily on a cigarette. He uses his pin to get through the crowd, where he propositions Mabel and gets slapped.
Twenty Minutes of Love is a 1914 American comedy silent film made by Keystone Studios. The film is widely reported as Charlie Chaplin’s directorial debut. Some sources name Joseph Maddern as the director, but generally credit Chaplin as the creative force. Charlie is hanging around in the park, finding problems with a jealous suitor, a man who thinks that Charlie has robbed him a watch, a policeman and even a little boy, all because our friend can't stop snooping.
Caught in a Cabaret is a 1914 short comedy film written and directed by Mabel Normand and starring Normand and Charles Chaplin. Chaplin plays a waiter who fakes being a Greek Ambassador to impress a girl. He then is invited to a garden party where he gets in trouble with the girl's jealous boyfriend. Mabel Normand wrote and directed comedies before Chaplin and mentored her young co-star.
Caught in the Rain is a 1914 American comedy silent film. starring Charlie Chaplin. This film was the first of many movies in which Chaplin both directed and played the lead. The short film was produced by Mack Sennett for Keystone Studios with a running time of 16 minutes. The action starts in a park, where a man is trying to romance a matronly woman, wearing a fur stole. The man leaves to go to a concession stall, St Rucopias, and Charlie comes along in his infamous tramp costume. He makes the woman laugh by almost soaking himself at the drinking fountain. He then sits next to her on the bench. The original man returns and is angry. He grabs Charlie by the face. He argues with the woman, waving his arms around and hitting Charlie with each movement. His last swing knocks Charlie clean over the bench. They leave and return to a hotel. Charlie is despondent. He leaves the park and staggers, now apparently drunk, over a wide road, almost getting hit by a car. He arrives at the same hotel and after propositioning a girl outside, enters, falling over a man's gout-bound leg at the reception desk. He checks the register to see which room the couple are in, who are meanwhile getting drunk themselves. Rushing up the stairs he slips, and slides comically back to the foot on his stomach. He makes several more dangerously balanced comical attempts, hitting the gout-bound man and his two female friends in the process. He approaches the hotel room, where the original couple are arguing. His key doesn't fit but the door is open and he enters, at first not seeing the couple due to his drunken state. The man boots him out. Charlie tries another room with his key and gets in. He starts to undress and goes to bed. Meanwhile the man across the hall leaves his wife to go out. We are told she is a sleepwalker. She crosses the hall to sit on Charlie's bed. However the rain starts and the husband returns to the hotel to find his room empty. Charlie, now awake meets him at his door and claims not to know where his wife is. While the man goes down to reception, Charlie takes her back to her room but gets trapped when the man returns. He ends up on the balcony in the rain. But then a policeman spots him and challenges him, drawing a gun. Enter the Keystone Cops. A comic battle ensues in the hallway. The husband ends up in Charlie's room and collapses drunk on the bed. The cops disappear. The wife comes into the hall and she and Charlie fall down drunk on the floor.
A Busy Day is a 1914 short film starring Charlie Chaplin and Mack Swain. In A Busy Day, a wife (played by an energetic Charlie Chaplin) becomes jealous of her husband's interest in another woman during a military parade. On her way to attack the couple, the wife interrupts the set of a film, knocking over a film director and a police officer. Finally, the husband pushes the wife off a pier and she falls into the harbour.
The Fatal Mallet is a 1914 American-made Motion Picture starring Charles Chaplin and Mabel Normand. The film was written and directed by Mack Sennett, who also portrays one of Chaplin's rivals for Normand's attention (Sennett and Normand were off-screen lovers during this period). The Fatal Mallet is one of more than a dozen early films that writer, director, comedian, Mabel Normand made with Charles Chaplin. Normand, who had written and directed films before Chaplin, mentored the young comedian. Three man will fight for the love of a charming girl. Charlie will play dirty, throwing bricks to his contender, and using a huge hammer to hurt one of them. But a precocious kid will be the fourth suitor in discord
Her Friend the Bandit is a 1914 American comedy silent film made by Keystone Studios starring Charles Chaplin and Mabel Normand, both of whom co-directed the movie. Charlie plays an elegant bandit with whom Mabel has a flirtation. Mabel hosts a party. Charlie attends as a French count (Count de Beans). Charlie's uncouth behaviour shocks the other party guests. The Keystone Cops eventually are summoned and remove Charlie from the party.
The Knockout (1914) was Charlie Chaplin’s seventeenth film for Keystone Studios. Chaplin only has a small role, and Fatty Arbuckle takes up the main role (it is one of only a few films in which Chaplin's Little Tramp character appears in a secondary role Chaplin doesn't even appear until the second half of the film). It also stars Arbuckle's wife, Minta Durfee, Edgar Kennedy and The Keystone Studios owner Mack Sennett, in a minor role as a spectator. The film was directed by Charles Avery, and made in 1914 in America. Pug, a down-and-out Hobo, is talked into pretending he is Cyclone Flynn, the boxing champion, and entering the ring for a fight. When the real Cyclone shows up, Pug ends up having to trade punches with him instead
Mabel's Busy Day Is a 1914 short comedy film starring Mabel Normand and Charles Chaplin. The film was also written and directed by Mabel Normand. The supporting cast includes Chester Conklin, Slim Summerville, Edgar Kennedy, Al St John, Charley Chase and Mack Sennett. Entrepreneur Mabel (Mabel Normand) tries to sell Hot Dogs at a car race. She bribes a policeman with one of her treats to gain access to the race course but does not do a very good business once she is inside. Meanwhile Charlie tangles with another police officer but still crashes the gate. He is pursued by the policeman. Mabel sets down her box of hot dogs and leaves them unattended for a moment. Charlie finds the box and freely gives the hot dogs away to hungry spectators at the track. Mabel finds out that Charlie has stolen her box of hot dogs and sends the police after him. Chaos ensues.
Mabel's Married Life (1914) is an American comedy silent film made by Keystone Studios starring and co-written by Charles Chaplin and Mabel Normand and directed by Chaplin. As was so often the case during his first year in film, Chaplin's character is soon staggering drunk. Chaplin, in tramp attire, sits in the park with his wife, Mabel. While he is gone to a bar, a large man holding a tennis racquet moves in on his wife. Chaplin returns to find them laughing together. But despite kicking him and hitting him with his cane the man is undeterred in his wooing of his wife. The man drags Mabel down to the edge of the lake in the park. Meanwhile, Charlie finds the man's wife and they return together, where the wife first confronts her husband, but then ends up confronting Mabel. She goes to strike her but hits Charlie instead. The couple then leave. Mabel heads home but stops at a sporting goods store where she orders a man-shaped punch-bag.
Laughing Gas is a 1914 film starring Charlie Chaplin. The film is also known as Busy Little Dentist, Down and Out, Laughing Gas, The Dentist, and Tuning His Ivories. We are told Charlie is a dental assistant. He arrives at work where the patients are already waiting. He joins the tiny second dental assistant in the back room. They have a brief squabble then Charlie goes to the waiting room to clean the floor with a carpet sweeper. He bumps into a patient and a further squabble starts. Then back to the rear room for more squabbling. The dentist arrives and his first patient goes in, obviously in pain. The dentist prepares the Nitrous Oxide anaesthetic. With the man unconscious he pulls his tooth, but then he can't get him to wake up. He calls for Charlie and when he arrives the dentist runs off. Charlie tries to wake him and eventually tries hitting his head with a mallet. The man revives but starts laughing. Charlie knocks him out with the mallet. The dentist then returns and Charlie is sent to the drug store to get a prescription. After more fighting with the patients he goes from Dr Pain's surgery to the Sunset Pharmacy. He strikes a man standing at a news-stand outside. He looks at a woman and Charlie kicks him in the stomach before chasing the woman himself, and an incident occurs where she loses her skirt and runs off in embarrassment. He continues fighting with the man, who receives a brick in the face, thus becoming another dental patient. A second brick hits a passer-by equally losing him a tooth. Meanwhile, the dentist gets a phone call from his maid to say his wife has had an "accident" and he goes home. Charlie returns to find the surgery empty. He picks the prettier of the two female patients in the waiting room. The other lady leaves, leaving them alone. Charlie flirts with her and looks very closely into her mouth, stealing kisses. Meanwhile, the two men struck by bricks arrive. The girl leaves. The tall passer-by goes in next. Charlie uses a huge pair of pliers to remove another tooth. With all the noise the news stand victim enters and a final fight ensues.
The Property Man is a short 1914 American comedy silent film made by Keystone Studios starring Charlie Chaplin. Charlie is in charge of stage "props" and has trouble with actors' luggage and conflicts over who gets the star's dressing room. Small caricatures on the wall indicate both the stars and the head of what can only be Charlie Chaplin with the word "PROPS" below. Once the dressing room issue is resolved the next issue is getting everyone on stage with the correct backdrop. The order of performance, all of which is seen is The "Goo-Goo Sisters", billed as comediennes, two young girls dancing "Garlico" and his Feats of Strength, a strong-man aided by his beautiful assistant who gets knocked out just before she goes on stage, allowing Charlie to step in. "Sorrow" a drama performed by a man and woman. During the performances we see the audience reaction throughout, ranging from delight to booing. Backstage Charlie and an old man fight, often disrupting the onstage performances. The audience also breaks into a fight, and a hose brought out behind the scenes ends up squirting over them.
The Face on the Bar Room Floor
Is a short film written and directed by Charles Chaplin in 1914. Chaplin stars in this film, loosely based on The poem of the same name by Hugh Antoine d’Arcy. A painter turned tramp, devastated by losing the woman he was courting as a wealthy man, finds himself drunk and getting drunker by the minute with some sailors at a bar until he collapses. He keeps futilely trying to draw the woman's picture on the floor with a piece of chalk until he finally passes out cold (or perhaps dies, as in the poem) at the end of the film.
Recreation is a short comedy film written, directed, and starring Charlie Chaplin. It was released on 13 August 1914 Seated in a park, Charlie gives his expert attention to the picture of a pretty girl on the cover of the Police Gazette. Since he doesn't have a girl of his own, Charlie becomes despondent and prepares to drown himself in the park's lake. He quickly changes his mind when an attractive girl approaches. However, she has a sailor boyfriend. Charlie and the sailor begin to fight. Shortly thereafter two policemen become involved in what has become a terrific brick fight between Charlie and the sailor. The brick war features strategic retreats and clever diversionary movements. Eventually Charlie settles matters by pushing the sailor and the policemen into the lake.
The Masquerader is a 1914 film written and directed by Charles Chaplin during his time at The Keystone Company. This film stars Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle and has a running time of 13 minutes. It is the tenth film directed and the second written by Chaplin. The Masquerader is a comedy short whose plot revolves around making films at Keystone. Charlie plays an actor who bungles several scenes and is kicked off the studio. The next day a strange, beautiful woman appears to audition for the film. It's Charlie in drag. After doing a perfect impersonation of a female, Charlie has drawn the attention of the director who hires the new "actress' for his films. The director gives the beautiful woman the men's dressing room to change in. While there, Charlie returns to his tramp costume. When the director returns, looking for the woman, he finds Charlie and realizes he has been tricked. Angry, the director.
His New Profession is a 1914 American comedy silent film made at the Keystone Studios and starring Charlie Chaplin. The film involves Chaplin taking care of a man in a wheelchair. It is also known as "The Good for Nothing". Charlie is hired by a man to wheel his elderly invalid uncle around a seaside park for a short time. Although he begins his new job with enthusiasm, Charlie soon thinks he should be earning extra money for his efforts to spend at a saloon. Accordingly, he takes a beggar's sign and tin and puts them on the wheelchair of the sleeping old man. A pretty girl, a real beggar, a park policeman and the old man's nephew (who is furious because Charlie allowed his uncle's wheelchair to nearly roll off a high, long pier) soon ensure that Charlie's new profession is a thing of the past.
The Rounders is a 1914 comedy short starring Charles Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle. The film involves two drunks who get into trouble with their wives, and was written and directed by Chaplin. A drunk reveller returns home to a scolding from his wife. Then his equally inebriated neighbour goes home to a cold reception from his wife. When the first couple hear the physical altercation across the hall (the second man starts strangling his wife after she hits him), the reveller's wife sends him to investigate. The two men flee together and end up in a cafe, where they also cause trouble. When their spouses track them down, they escape, this time to a leaky rowboat. Safely out of reach of their wives, they fall asleep, oblivious to the rising water into which they eventually disappear.
The New Janitor was the 27th comedy from Keystone Studios to feature Charlie Chaplin. The film is arguably one of his best for the studio, and a precursor to a key Essanay Studios short, The Bank. The film also demonstrates the differences that Chaplin had with Keystone comedy in that it is a coherent whole in which the stock characters actually fill some emotional centre. Chaplin brings a certain complexity to his janitor, unusual to the comedy factory of Mack Sennett. The film, which stars among Sennett's bit players Jess Dandy, Al St John, John T Dillon and Helen Ca