Long-lost Chaplin film to debut at Va. festival




In past years, the International Film Festival Slapsticon has prided itself on recovering and presenting lost comedy treasures, even discovering previously undocumented films featuring the Great Clowns of early cinema, rewriting film history books and filmographies. This year, at SLAPSTICON 2010, motion picture historians will be updating the filmography of the Greatest Comic of All, Charles Chaplin, as SLAPSTICON presents for the first time since it’s original release, Chaplin’s 36th Keystone short subject, a heretofore unknown appearance Chaplin made at Mack Sennett’s legendary Fun Factory in the same year and at the same studio in which he made his film debut.

Chaplin had recalled in his own autobiography that apart from his starring role Keystone Comedies, he had also played bit parts as a Keystone Kop in several pictures. Despite this information, the titles of these works remained elusive for over 90 years and no film prints have surfaced — until now. SLAPSTICON 2010 proudly presents one of those previously thought lost Keystone comedies, A THIEF CATCHER, released by the Mutual Film Corporation on February 19, 1914. The short stars Ford Sterling, Mack Swain, Edgar Kennedy, and features Chaplin making an extended and very funny cameo as a policeman. The film was shot January 5th through January 26th, 1914, making it perhaps the second or third film Chaplin made at Keystone. The short was released following Chaplin’s third starring Keystone comedy MABELS STRANGE PREDICAMENT. Its importance as an early Chaplin appearance cannot be underestimated, and definitely adds another interesting chapter to Chaplin’s early film career.

The print of A THIEF CATCHER was discovered earlier this year by Film Historian / Preservationist Paul E. Gierucki, current head of restorations for CineMuseum LLC, and one of the"Godfathers" of a group of Comedy Film Historians known as the “Silent Comedy Mafia” who help to organize the yearly Slapsticon festivals.

A THIEF CATCHER will be part of a Chaplin Rarities Program at SLAPSTICON 2010 showing Saturday Evening, July 17th at 8:00 pm at the Spectrum Theater in Rosslyn, Va. Also featured in the Rarities program will be a newly recovered reel of Chaplin Outtakes from his Mutual Comedies, and a sparkling print of Chaplin’s Liberty War Loan propaganda short, THE BOND (1918) featuring outtakes from that film. These remarkable comedies are just a few of the rare treasures that will be screened in the four days of SLAPSTICON 2010, which runs Thursday through Sunday, July 15-18th at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater in Arlington, VA. For more information, a complete program schedule, registration and hotel information, go to www.slapsticon.org.


Source: http://www.slapsticon.org/chaplinpressrelease2.doc

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