Wednesday, March 11, 2015

THE CHAMPION, released March 11, 1915

Written and directed by Charles Chaplin.

Filmed in Niles, CA, this was his third film for Essanay.

Basic plot: Charlie takes a job as a sparring partner and ends up fighting the world champion.

Chaplin was a longtime fan of boxing. When he moved to California, one of his favorite hobbies was to attend the fights in Vernon. The fights were held on Tuesday, and every Tuesday Chaplin was there. And according to the other attendees, it was often more fun watching him than the fight: "Charlie goes through the whole fight with the fighters. He gets so excited that he ducks and dodges and punches with the prize-fighters. He scowls and cringes and sinks down in his seat. They say it is a strenuous experience to sit next to him. He fairly lacerates your ribs with his pantomime. Every time one of the fighters strikes out, Charlie strikes in sympathy." (Literary Digest, November 10, 1917)

Incidentally one of the last movies Chaplin ever saw, and thoroughly enjoyed, was Rocky, Sylvester Stallone's 1976 film about an underdog boxer.

Charlie's "persnickety pooch" who won't eat his half of the hot dog unless it's salted.
Charlie's training accoutrements: a very lightweight barbell & beer--lots of beer.
Edna, the trainer's daughter.
Charlie's pet bulldog doesn't like the way the fight is going.
On a sad note: Spike the dog was hit by a car and killed in Niles, CA, only a few weeks after
production was completed. 
"To the victor belong the spoils"

1 comment:

  1. For me the best parts of this film (and there are a bunch) are: the close up of CC and Edna at the end. Charlie running around the bases in a gait that I have only seen once. His gigantic pants - so big he has to fold over when he bends down. Makes me wonder if the camera picked up a little too much of Charlie...haha

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