Directed by: Charlie Chaplin
Countries & Regions: United States
Studio: British Film Institute
Length: 198 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 25 August 2003
Cat No: BFIVD559
Screen ratio 1:1.33
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Charlie Chaplin - The Essanay Films (Vol 2)
Cast: Charlie Chaplin
Second of two volumes collecting together all fifteen films Charlie Chaplin made for the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. Includes: ’A... Read More
Chaplin’s year with the Essanay company was a productive interlude between his first year of energetic experiment at Keystone (1914) and his extraordinary flowering with the Mutual films of 1916-17. His first picture for his new employers, made in Essanay’s Chicago studio and aptly named His New Job, was a comedy about the hazards of work in a film studio. He quickly moved west to Essanay’s Californian studio at Niles: the lot can be glimpsed as the background to The Champion, with its virtuoso 6-minute boxing sequence revealing the 26-year-old Chaplin’s unique balletic approach to physical comedy.
At Niles too he made The Tramp, which first revealed his special quality of mixing comedy with pathos and romance. Always in search of the greater creative independence he knew he needed, he took over an old mansion, the Majestic Studio, where his finest work for Essanay was achieved. The Bank was Hollywood’s first comedy with a sad ending. In A Woman Chaplin performs one of the screen’s greatest female impersonations. Work has moments of the surreal and a keenly observed confrontation between the aspiring bourgeois and the unimpressed working class. A Night at the Show is a precious screen recreation of Mumming Birds, a sketch in which Chaplin starred on the English music halls, before he dreamed of the movies.
His association with Essanay ended badly when the company extended his Burlesque on Carmen with scenes he had not shot, and cobbled together Triple Trouble out of uncompleted projects. Chaplin’s attempts to suppress these unauthorised films failed. Today there is enough evidence of his unique comic flavour and skills, even in these botched efforts, for us to be grateful. The DVD also includes a glimpse of Chaplin in his private character, appearing in His Regeneration, a film starring Broncho Billy Anderson, co-founder of the Essanay Company (which derived its name from the initials of Anderson and his partner George K.Spoor)