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Charlie Chaplin: The Essanay Comedies (DVD) BFI


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In December 1914, the great Charlie Chaplin signed a one year contract with the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company for what was then an unprecedented salary. Shooting in both their California and Chicago studios he went on to make 15 films that firmly established him as the world’s favourite screen comedian.

Unlike other screen stars of the time, Chaplin retained complete creative control over his films, from writing and directing, to choosing his cast members. While this led to his relationship with Essanay growing increasingly strained, this fruitful period of his career saw him evolve his style, resulting in seminal works such as The Tramp, The Bank and The Champion.

The result of a 12 year project, led by Lobster Films and the Cineteca di Bologna, this comprehensive 2 disc DVD collection features 15 films, fully restored, presented alongside exclusive special features – never before released in the UK.

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Special Features

Charlie Chaplin: The Long Year at Essanay (2016, 23 mins): newly produced video essay presented by writer and broadcaster Glenn Mitchell
Charlie’s Triple Trouble (1948, 15 mins): the re-released British version of Chaplin’s 1918 film Triple Trouble

A Burlesque on Carmen (1951, 35 mins): containing additional footage filmed after Chaplin’s departure from Essanay. This version features a commentary by comedian Peter Sellers, which was used for the film’s British re-release

Charlie Butts In (1920, 10 mins): short compilation of out-takes and alternate shots from Chaplin’s 1915 film A Night Out

Fully illustrated booklet with essays by Frank Scheide, new writing by Glenn Mitchell, and Vic Pratt, and full film credits