You are browsing the archive for Films: Comedy.

Making a Living (1914)

- January 11, 2013 in charlie chaplin, collections, Films, Films: 1910s, Films: Comedy, Films: Short, keystone kops

Making a Living (1914) marked Charlie Chaplin’s first ever film appearance. In the film he plays a lady-charming swindler, Edgar English, who runs afoul of the Keystone Kops. Chaplin strongly disliked the picture, but one review picked him out as “a comedian of the first water.” Although his character wears a large moustache, top hat, and carries a cane, it was not until his next film, Kid Auto Races at Venice, that Chaplin would appear as his famous Tramp character with which he would thereon be identified. The music we hear over the film (added afterwards) is by Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers. Download from Internet Archive Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using. Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

A Wake in Hell’s Kitchen (1903)

- October 27, 2012 in coffin, collections, corpse, Film: 1900s, Films, Films: Clip, Films: Comedy

Strange little short from the American Mutoscope & Biograph Co, housed at the Library of Congress. From Biograph picture catalogue, Nov. 1902 [MI], p. 39: This scene is laid in the parlor of a New York tenement. Two watchers at the wake are smoking and drinking, while the widow is weeping over the coffin. The attention of the three is attracted for an instant, and the supposed corpse rises up, drinks all the beer in the pitcher which is standing on a table nearby, and lies down in the coffin again. The mourners return, and seeing that the beer is gone, engage in a controversy over it. During the scrap the corpse jumps out of the coffin and takes part in the melee. Download from Library of Congress Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using. Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email [...]

Lambeth Walk – Nazi Style (1942)

- June 20, 2012 in Charles A. Ridley, Films, Films: 1940s, Films: Clip, Films: Comedy, Films: Documentary, hitler, lambeth walk, Leni Riefenstahl, nazi, non-article, propaganda, second world war, Triumph of the Will

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In 1942, Charles A. Ridley of the British Ministry of Information made a short propaganda film, “Lambeth Walk – Nazi Style”, which edited footage of Hitler and German soldiers from Leni Riefenstahl’s classic Triumph of the Will to make it appear as if they were marching and dancing to the song “The Lambeth Walk”. A member of the Nazi Party achieved attention in 1939 by declaring “The Lambeth Walk” (which was becoming popular in Berlin) to be “Jewish mischief and animalistic hopping” as part of a speech on how the “revolution of private life” was one of the next big tasks of National Socialism in Germany. The film so enraged Joseph Goebbels that reportedly he ran out of the screening room kicking chairs and screaming profanities. The propaganda film was distributed uncredited to newsreel companies, who would supply their own narration. This version is from the Universal Newsreel company: “The cleverest anti-Nazi propaganda yet! You will howl with glee when you see and hear what our London newsreel friends have cooked up for Hitler and his goose-stepping armies. The ‘Nasties’ skip and sway in tune to the Lambeth Walk!”

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Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.




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    Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914)

    - April 3, 2012 in charlie chaplin, Films, Films: 1910s, Films: Comedy, Films: Short, keystone, kid auto races, non-article, silent comedy, silent short, tramp

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    This Keystone comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice, released on 7 February 1914, was only Charlie Chaplin’s second ever appearance on film and the screen debut of his famous Tramp character. Although it was the first film released involving the Tramp, Chaplin had actually devised the outfit for the film Mabel’s Strange Predicament produced a few days earlier but released a couple days after Kid Auto Races at Venice, on 9 February 1914. Mack Sennett had requested that Chaplin “get into a comedy make-up”. As Chaplin recalled in his autobiography:

    I had no idea what makeup to put on. I did not like my get-up as the press reporter [in Making a Living]. However on the way to the wardrobe I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large. I was undecided whether to look old or young, but remembering Sennett had expected me to be a much older man, I added a small moustache, which I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born.

    In The Kid Auto Races at Venice Chaplin takes the Tramp to the races where he annoys a director, who is trying to film there, by continuously trying to sneak into shot.

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    Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.




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