Charlie Chaplin

Charles Spencer Chaplin.
Born: 16 April 1889.
Died: 25 December 1977.
Buried: Vaud, Switzerland

Chaplin’s Work at Different Studios.

Chaplin’s career began on the English stage. Mack Sennett saw Chaplin perform when the latter toured the United States as part of a vaudeville-style troupe in 1913, and Sennett signed Chaplin on to join his comedy-producing Keystone movie studio.

At Keystone, Chaplin learned the craft of making movies while working a grueling schedule, churning out a new short film every week or so. Chaplin’s Keystone films tend to be repetitive and not particularly imaginative. They are fast-paced and saturated with violence. Having characters throw bricks at each other was a popular theme.

Chaplin moved to Essanay studio for 1915, and the films Chaplin made here begin to show some of the early signs of genius which would come to full fruition when he switched studios once again at the end of the year.

The dozen films Chaplin made at Mutual Studios in 1916 represent the most brilliant comedic short subjects of the silent era, rivalled only by those made by Buster Keaton upon the latter’s separation from Fatty Arbuckle. Chaplin’s creativity is fully on display in these stunning little films, full of endlessly inventive gags and perfect pacing. The Mutual films certainly benefited from the presence of the enormous Eric Campbell, who was perfectly suited to play Charlie’s ever-enraged and violent foil, which he did in 11 of the 12 films made at Mutual.

Sadly, Campbell died in a car accident at the end of 1916. Chaplin’s subsequent short films never achieved the level of genius shown in the Mutuals, even though they were quite popular. But anyone watching all the films one after the other will notice a diminishing of the intensity and care in the later subjects, in comparison to the Mutuals.

But Chaplin’s interests had shifted to the making of feature films, to the advantage of the movie-watching public, for Charlie’s best silent feature films – The Gold Rush and City Lights especially – are considered amongst the greatest movies of all time.

If you watch multiple Chaplin films made at a given studio, you may find it great fun to identify the various actors and actresses who appear repeatedly in these films as part of Chaplin’s stock team. In fact, many times his co-stars will appear in two, and occasionally even three roles in the same film!

 TitleDate Released (USA)
yyyy/mm/dd
StudioShort or
Feature
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Making a Living 1914/02/02KeystoneSLinkMinta Durfee's first appearance in a Chaplin film.
Kid Auto Races at Venice  1914/02/07KeystoneSLink
Mabel's Strange Predicament  1914/02/09KeystoneSLinkMabel Normand's and Al St. John's first appearances in a Chaplin film.
A Thief Catcher  1914/02/19KeystoneSLinkFilm discovered in 2010; Chaplin plays a minor role, a Keystone Cop.
Phyllis Allen's first appearance in a Chaplin film.
Between Showers  1914/02/28KeystoneSLink
A Film Johnnie  1914/03/02KeystoneSLink
Tango Tangles 1914/03/09KeystoneSLinkFatty Arbuckle's first appearance in a Chaplin film.
His Favorite Pastime  1914/03/16KeystoneSLinkJess Dandy's first film appearance.
Cruel, Cruel Love  1914/03/26KeystoneSLink
The Star Boarder  1914/04/04KeystoneSLink
Mabel at the Wheel  1914/04/18KeystoneSLink
Twenty Minutes of Love  1914/04/20KeystoneSLink
Caught in a Cabaret  1914/04/27KeystoneSLink
A Busy Day  1914/05/04KeystoneSLink
Caught in the Rain  1914/05/07KeystoneSLink
The Fatal Mallet  1914/06/01KeystoneSLink
Her Friend the Bandit  1914/06/04KeystoneSn/aA lost film.
The Knockout  1914/06/11KeystoneSLink
Mabel's Busy Day  1914/06/13KeystoneSLink
Mabel's Married Life  1914/06/20KeystoneSLink
Laughing Gas  1914/07/09KeystoneSLink
The Property Man  1914/08/01KeystoneSLink
The Face on the Barroom Floor  1914/08/10KeystoneSLink
Recreation  1914/08/13KeystoneSLink
The Masquerader  1914/08/27KeystoneSLinkNo music.
His New Profession  1914/08/31KeystoneSLink
The Rounders  1914/09/07KeystoneSLink
The New Janitor  1914/09/24KeystoneSLink
Those Love Pangs  1914/10/10KeystoneSLink
Dough and Dynamite  1914/10/26KeystoneSLink
Gentlemen of Nerve  1914/10/29KeystoneSLink
His Musical Career  1914/11/07KeystoneSLink
His Trysting Place  1914/11/09KeystoneSLink
A Fair Exchange,
aka Getting Acquainted 
 1914/12/05KeystoneSLink
His Prehistoric Past  1914/12/07KeystoneSLink
Tillie's Punctured Romance 1914/12/21KeystoneFLink
His New Job  1915/02/01EssanaySLinkFirst appearance in a Chaplin film of Ben Turpin and Leo White.
A Night Out  1915/02/15EssanaySLinkFirst appearance ever in a film for Edna Purviance and Bud Jamison.
The Champion  1915/03/11EssanaySLinkPaddy Maguire's first appearance in a Chaplin film.
In the Park  1915/03/18EssanaySLink
A Jitney Elopement  1915/04/01EssanaySLink
The Tramp  1915/04/11EssanaySLink
By the Sea  1915/04/29EssanaySLink
His Regeneration  1915/05/07EssanaySLinkChaplin has a brief comic cameo in this Bronco Billy Anderson drama.
Work  1915/06/21EssanaySLink
A Woman  1915/07/12EssanaySLink
The Bank  1915/08/09EssanaySLink
Shanghaied  1915/10/04EssanaySLink
A Night in the Show  1915/11/20EssanaySLink
A Burlesque on Carmen  1916/04/22EssanayFLink I
Link II
Link I: Chaplin's original version at two reels;
Link II: Essanay later added extra footage to create a "padded", feature-length version.
Recommended to watch original feature film Carmen first to get all the jokes in the parody.
The Floorwalker  1916/05/15MutualSLinkFirst film appearance ever of Albert Austin, Eric Campbell.
Henry Bergman's first appearance in a Chaplin film.
Police  1916/05/27EssanaySLink
The Fireman  1916/06/12MutualSLink
The Vagabond  1916/07/10MutualSLink
One A.M.  1916/08/07MutualSLink
The Count  1916/09/04MutualSLink
The Pawnshop  1916/10/02MutualSLink
Behind the Screen  1916/11/13MutualSLink
The Rink  1916/12/04MutualSLink
Easy Street  1917/01/22MutualSLink
The Cure  1917/04/16MutualSLink
The Immigrant  1917/06/17MutualSLink
The Adventurer  1917/10/22MutualSLinkEric Campbell's last appearance in a Chaplin film.
Charlie Chaplin Meets Harry Lauder  1918SLink
A Dog's Life  1918/04/09First NationalSLink
Triple Trouble  1918/08/11EssanaySLinkUnauthorized film comprised of scenes from Work, Police and other films, and new material added by Leo White.
Shoulder Arms  1918/10/20First NationalSn/a
The Bond  1918/12/16First NationalSLink
Sunnyside  1919/06/15First NationalSLink
A Day's Pleasure  1919/12/15First NationalSLinkJackie Coogan's first appearance in a Chaplin film.
Charlie Butts In  1920/01/01SLink
The Kid 1921/02/06First NationalSLink
The Idle Class  1921/09/25First NationalSLinkNo music. With ads.
Nice and Friendly  1922SLink
Pay Day  1922/04/02First NationalSLink
Souls for Sale 1923SLinkCameo appearance only.
The Pilgrim 1923/02/26First NationalFLink
Hollywood 1923/08/19Fn/aLost film.
A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate 1923/10/01United ArtistFLink
The Gold Rush 1925/04/26United ArtistFLink
Camille  1926SLinkNo sound. Weird experimental film, Chaplin made only a cameo appearance.
The Professor 1919SLinkUncompleted and unreleased film.
The Circus 1928/01/06United ArtistFLink
Show People 1928/10/28Fn/aChaplin makes only a cameo appearance.
City Lights 1931/01/30United ArtistFLink
Modern Times 1936/02/05United ArtistFLink
The Great Dictator 1940/10/15United ArtistFLinkThis movie is not a true silent, of course, but does include enough pantomime, so that we will be excused for including it in our list!
This version is subtitled in Czech.