Preston And District Roll Of Honour

Prod.: Will Onda’s Pictures; 35mm. L.: 263 M. D.: 14′ A 16 F/S.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Chaplinitis, vulgarity, and refining the Tramp: Chaplin at Keystone and Essanay (1914-1915)

The films of Charles Chaplin grew enormously popular in the United States in 1915, just after the filmmaker had moved to Essanay from his first company, Keystone. His fame spread so widely that Charles McGuirk claimed that the nation was suffering a case of “Chaplinitis”. Although it is difficult to pinpoint one reason for this growing fame, it surely was related to the easily identifiable tramp character and costume, the resilient nature of the tramp, Chaplin’s gifted performance style, and the imaginative comic inventiveness of Chaplin the filmmaker. While the tramp was becoming the most acclaimed character in movies, however, some moralists began to complain that the character was vulgar and crude. Evidence suggests that Cha­plin responded to that criticism and began to “refine” the tramp character in some of the later Essanay films and some of his Mutual comedies. This session will focus on Chaplin’s rise to stardom in the Essanay and Mutual periods and will be accompanied by some representative Chaplin films from this era.

Charles Maland, University of Tennessee


Programming Chaplin in 1915

In 1915 ‘Chaplinitis’ came to Britain. New purpose built cinemas had sprung up all over the country but what were they playing and why did Chaplin become so popular just then? How were his films seen? The poorer cinemas, we know, played rereleased packages of Keystone films but the richer cinemas could afford the new Essanay Chaplin comedies on exclusive contracts. These would be screened in a mixed programme with news items, a feature or drama and maybe a live act. In 1915 the Brits were still optimistic about the war but soldiers were beginning to die and the people needed heroes. This programme of films from autumn 1915 may not have been shown together literally on the same night but it is possible and it raise interesting questions about the kind of heroes the audiences wanted – not a superman – but a little fellow, a peoples hero – one who never gave up but modestly soldiered on.

Bryony Dixon, BFI National Archive

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