Charles Chaplin

It. tit.: Charlot boxeur. Scen.: Charles Chaplin. F.: Harry Ensign. Scgf.: E.T. Hazy. Int.: Charles Chaplin (aspiring boxer), Lloyd Bacon (coach), Edna Purviance (her daughter), Leo White (man that try to corrupt him), Bud Jamison (champion), Billy Armstrong (coach), Carl Stockdale (coach), Paddy McGuire (coach), Ben Turpin (travellercashier), G.M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson (enthusiastic viewer). Prod.: Jesse T. Robbins per The Essanay Manufacturing Company. DCP. Bn

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

One of the indisputable gems of the Essanay series, The Champion is part of, according to a definition dear to Jean Mitry, the ‘parody-ballet’ genre. The tempo that sets the story’s pace is not a narrative one but a dance tempo, a musical and choreographic tempo, which reaches its climax in the boxing ring (the forerunner of the truly superb scene in City Lights) with Chaplin and his costars moving with great fluidity. Going to boxing matches was for years one of Chaplin’s favorite pastimes, as demonstrated by the numerous pictures in his archive of him throwing punches with Benny Leonard, Harry Manswell and Primo Carnera when visiting Chaplin Studios. The opening scene of The Champion is quintessentially Chaplin: we see the Tramp sitting on a step (behind him is the door of a house which he clearly does not live in) and watch him as he pulls out the inevitable sausage from the inside pocket of his jacket, a stale sandwich from his bowler and salt from the breastpocket of his waistcoat. He shares the meal with a rather picky dog that wins him over. The character is perfectly defined both physically (the costume) and emotionally (he is alone, lives by his wits and on the street).

Restoration supported by Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum