Monday, March 16, 2015

Syd Chaplin in Gussle's Wayward Path (1915)

The character of Gussle was created by Syd and is a version of Archibald Binks the character he (& Charlie) played in a number of Fred Karno productions (including Skating). Despite claims that the character was based on his brother's Little Tramp persona, Gussle was really the opposite of the Tramp. As Syd's biographer Lisa Stein Haven notes: "He was obviously bourgeois middle class, a homeowner, employed, and with a wife and sometimes a dog, although no children. The British might refer to the character as a fop--a sort of pretentious and pompous individual who wears the adornments of affluence in such a way as to show their particular hilarity and who attempts to behave with an upper-class decorum that is not so much ill-fitting but employed with a sense of rogue entitlement that results in violence, insult and outright thoughtlessness." (Syd Chaplin: A Biography, pg. 48-49)  Syd made roughly a dozen movies as Gussle during his year with Keystone. This film is noteworthy for being Syd's first stint as co-director (along with Charles Avery). You'll also see a familiar face or two including Phyllis Allen who plays Gussle's wife.

Happy birthday, Syd.


5 comments:

  1. I agree, it's really striking to see how similar a lot of his body language was to his brother's. It's makes me wonder how many of those gestures were learned from watching Hannah!

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    1. I mean, "it makes me wonder," not "it's makes me wonder." The old English teacher in me shudders. . . Just have to say how much I wish there were film footage of Hannah in action in her prime, or even in her not-so-prime after she moved to California. I know she was still known to cut loose and dance well into her last years. Now that would be fascinating to see! Jessica, do you know if any such footage exists?

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    2. Not to my knowledge. I would love to see footage of her as well or more pictures of her as a young woman.

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  2. I would love to see at least 1 real photo of Hannah with Charlie and/or Syd. The existing ones are all composite.
    D.

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    1. I don't think I ever noticed it before but you're right. The photo you always see of Charlie and his mother is fake. This one
      Here is the photo used for Hannah in the composite. It has been flipped and the background is different.
      hannah_cc178_big.jpg

      I wonder who Charlie is really standing with in the composite photo. Do you know, Dominique?

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