Sunday, February 15, 2015

A NIGHT OUT, released February 15, 1915


Shot in Niles, CA, this film marks the 100th anniversary of Edna Purviance's first appearance onscreen.

Even though she is adorable in the film, Edna herself didn't think much of her performance:
"...before I began to be a picture artist, I had thought myself gifted with a little more than ordinary intelligence. After the first day in front of the camera, I came to the conclusion that I was the biggest 'boob' on earth.
"Charlie was very patient with me, though, and after my first picture, in which I think I was terrible--'A Night Out,' you know--I began to get used to the work, and although I have had occasional relapses, as Charlie calls them, I am at least 'camera-wise' by now." (Pictures & The Picturegoer, May 6, 1916)

9 comments:

  1. I've never seen A Night Out, but it strikes me that some of the elements look really similar to Mabel's Strange Predicament--girl in PJs in hallway, girl with big cute dog. I've got to watch this one to see early Edna in action. Her description above of Charlie being patient with her always makes me wonder if Charlie was sympathetic because he himself had found movie acting befuddling in his first days at Keystone. I wonder if he shared any of his own Keystone war stories to put Edna at ease. Of course, it probably helped Edna's cause that she was, Hatshepsut put it, totally adorable.

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    1. Yes, the two films are very similar. You can watch A Night Out on youtube:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owZWbnkVbcw

      Charlie was notoriously patient with his actors. There is a story I read somewhere, I think it was either during the filming of Verdoux or Limelight, where one of the actors was very nervous and Chaplin intentionally flubbed his own lines to put them at ease.

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    2. I love the stories about him as a director from Georgia Hale and Adolphe Menjou, as well as Jackie Coogan and Raymond Lee and Claire Bloom. I think the only people I've heard about that he wasn't patient with was his own son Sydney and Marlon Brando. Oh, yeah, and Virginia Cherrill. But generally, he sounds to me like a very considerate director.

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    3. There is an article by Virginia Cherrill in one of the Peter Haining books that was written in the 1930s where she seems to have more pleasant memories of working with Chaplin. Evidently her feelings about him soured in later years, after the war. One story goes (via Jeffrey Vance) that she never forgave him after she asked him for a specific donation for British War Relief and he refused (she was the wife of the Earl of Jersey at the time).

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  2. I always like to see photos of Edna with her hair down - brings out her pretty features even more and also looks like a modern photo.
    I am confused about Chaplin being patient when directing. I thought he was notorious for his impatience and rage. Maybe it was just a few women that he showed his tolerant side to?

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    1. There are stories about Chaplin becoming very angry with certain actresses (Claire Bloom, Marilyn Nash, Merna Kennedy) in order to make them cry or get upset for the camera. It was a technique. Otherwise it seems he was usually pretty patient with actors although I don't think that patience was always reciprocated because he did so many takes.

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    2. I remember the out takes for the Immigrant. Looked liked everyone was talking before a scene and he was yelling at them to shut the $%^ up. Haha - kind of funny that...

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    3. Then there's the time during THE CURE where he got mad and threw his cane. I think sometimes that members of his crew (& his musical associates) took more abuse than his actors. I don't think I could have ever worked for him.

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  3. Jackie Coogan, Georgia Hale, and Raymond Lee spoke highly of CC's patience--Lita Grey, too.

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