CHAPLIN At Keystone Box Set
4 DVD BOX SET. 34 Films. Running time: 561 mins approx. Year: 1914.
Black & white. Silent with music.
A four-disc set featuring the 34 surviving films from Charlie Chaplin’s contract with the Keystone Film Company.
Making a Living (1914) Director: Henry Lehrman. Chaplin plays a dubious dandy who aspires to be a newspaper reporter.
Kid Auto Races at Venice, Cal. (1914) Director: Henry Lehrman. The comedy in which audiences first saw Chaplin’s Tramp character.
Mabel’s Strange Predicament (1914) Director: Mabel Normand. The first of several Keystone comedies in which Chaplin reprises the comic drunk he had perfected for Fred Karno, impresario of the British music hall. Between Showers (1914) Director: Henry Lehrman. Featuring early evidence of several of the Tramp’s distinctive characteristics.
A Film Johnnie (1914). Director: George Nichols. The Tramp visits a nickelodeon and falls in love with the pretty ‘Keystone Girl’ (Virginia Kirtley) he sees on the screen.
Tango Tangles (1914) Director: Mack Sennett. The film features America’s tango dance craze during the early 1910s. With Ford Sterling, Roscoe Arbuckle, Chester Conklin and Chaplin all compete for the attention of the hat-check girl (Minta Durfee).
His Favorite Pastime (1914) Director: George Nichols. The drunken tramp follows an attractive young lady (Peggy Pearce) to her home where her outraged husband roughs him up before tossing him out on the street.
Cruel, Cruel Love (1914) Director: George Nichols. Charlie is a happy and attentive lover until his fiancée (Minta Durfee) ends their engagement after she believes she has caught him in a compromising situation with her maid.
The Star Boarder (1914) Director: George Nichols. Charlie, as the favourite of the landlady (Minta Durfee), enjoys more attention than her husband (Edgar Kennedy) and small son (Gordon Griffith), who secretly records various compromising situations with his box camera.
Mabel at the Wheel (1914) Director: Mabel Normand/Mack Sennett. The first two-reeler in which Chaplin appears, incorporating footage taken at the Vanderbilt Cup road race.
Twenty Minutes of Love (1914) Director: Joseph Maddern/Charles Chaplin. Chaplin’s first tentative effort at both story and direction, a simple park comedy.
Caught in a Cabaret (1914) Director: Mabel Normand. Charlie, a café/dancehall waiter, impersonates a foreign dignitary at a garden party in amorous pursuit of a society debutante (Mabel Normand).
Caught in the Rain (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Charlie flirts with a married lady (Alice Davenport) in a park, only to be warned off by her outraged husband, (Mack Swain).
A Busy Day (1914) Director: Mack Sennett. Chaplin again obstructs a camera crew, but this time he is dressed as a shrewish woman.
The Fatal Mallet (1914) Director: Mack Sennett. The Tramp and another man (Mack Sennett) are rivals for the attention of a young woman (Mabel Normand).
The Knockout (1914) Director: Mack Sennett. Chaplin appears briefly in the second reel of this Roscoe Arbuckle comedy as the boxing referee, much of his comedy material here borrows from Karno sketches.
Mabel’s Busy Day (1914) Director: Mack Sennett. Mabel Normand is a hot dog vendor who tricks her way into the racetrack. Chaplin swipes one of her hot dogs. Mabel’s Married Life (1914) Director: Mack Sennett. Mabel and her husband (Chaplin) visit a park where she is subjected to the flirtations of a cad (Mack Swain). Laughing Gas (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Charlie is a dentist’s assistant who blunders his tasks.
The Property Man (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Charlie is a property man in a vaudeville theater who must contend with the many demands of the various acts.
The Face on the Barroom Floor (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Charlie, as the heartbroken and inebriated artist, tells his tale of woe in a tavern as a series of flashbacks.
Recreation (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Tramp contemplates suicide until he encounters a pretty young woman.
The Masquerader (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Chaplin plays a mischievous version of himself.
His New Profession (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. A young man (Charles Parrott, later comedian Charley Chase) hires Charlie to care for his wheelchair-bound uncle.
The Rounders (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin/Roscoe Arbuckle. Mr Full (Chaplin) and Mr Fuller (Roscoe Arbuckle) are a couple of disgraceful drunks pursued by their angry spouses.
The New Janitor (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Charlie is a janitor in an office building who blunders his tasks; one of Chaplin’s most finely crafted and important works for Keystone.
Those Love Pangs (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Charlie and Chester Conklin are rivals in the attention of any woman they happen to see.
Dough and Dynamite (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Chaplin and Chester Conklin play waiters at a café/bakery who are forced to man the ovens when the bakers go on strike. Perhaps the most important comedy Chaplin made in his early ascent to screen stardom.
Gentlemen of Nerve (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. One reel event comedy filmed partly at Ascot Park speedway.
His Musical Career (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. A piano mover (Mack Swain) and his helper set off to deliver a piano and muddle their assignment by doing the opposite.
His Trysting Places (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. The domestic discord of Charlie and his wife (Mabel Normand) contrasted with the harmonious relationship between Ambrose (Mack Swain) and his wife (Phyllis Allen).
Getting Acquainted (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. Charlie and Mabel escape their spouses (Phyllis Allen and Mack Swain) to flirt in a park.
His Prehistoric Past (1914) Director: Charles Chaplin. The Tramp falls asleep on a park bench and dreams he is a caveman.
Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914) Director: Mack Sennett. Hollywood’s first feature-length slapstick comedy, Tillie’s Punctured Romance was a vehicle for stage star Marie Dressler. Tillie Banks (Marie Dressler), a country girl deceived by a city slicker (Chaplin) to steal her father’s money and run away with him to the city. Once there, the slicker takes her money and abandons her for Mabel (Mabel Normand). A huge box office success, the film was lauded in the press and sealed Chaplin’s ascent to stardom.
Charlie’s White Elephant (1916, 6 minutes): an animation by John Colman Terry and Hugh Shields.
Inside the Keystone Project (2010, 10 minutes): a short documentary about international restoration efforts behind the films in this collection.
Silent Traces (2010, 12 minutes): historian John Bengston on several of the Keystone locations.
Extracts from A Thief Catcher (1914,7 minutes): a film recently rediscovered by Paul E Gierucki, with a cameo of Chaplin as a Keystone Cop.
Stills Gallery and illustrated booklet written by Jeffrey Vance.
£30 with Free UK Postage