Showing posts with label Chester Conklin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chester Conklin. Show all posts

Sunday, October 26, 2014

DOUGH & DYNAMITE, released October 26th, 1914

The idea for Dough and Dynamite emerged out of a sequence intended for Those Love Pangs. Chaplin wisely chose to expand the scenes into a separate film (which was completed before Those Love Pangs but released later). The result is one of the best films Chaplin had made up to that time.

Although Chester Conklin was only three years older than Chaplin,
 he always seemed much older to me because of his costume.
The great Phyllis Allen.
The dough in this film seems to take on a comedy life of its own--
sort of like Charlie's cane in his other films. 
"The Fatal Loaf"
Charlie makes bagels by swinging the dough around his wrist like a bracelet.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Charlie and Chester Conklin are "rival mashers" in this film released 100 years ago this week.

Written and directed by Chaplin.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

CAUGHT IN A CABARET, released April 27th, 1914

Chaplin's twelfth Keystone was directed by Mabel Normand even though Chaplin is often listed as co-director. However, the film contains so many Chaplinesque ideas, it's obvious that she gave Chaplin the same creative free rein that director Joseph Maddern did with Twenty Minutes Of Love.

Monday, April 21, 2014

TWENTY MINUTES OF LOVE, released April 20th, 1914

I meant to post this yesterday but the day got away from me.

Charlie mocks the couple making out on the bench by hugging & kissing a tree.
Charlie steals the watch from the pickpocket (Chester Conklin) who had just stolen it from someone else. 

There is some debate as to whether this film was Chaplin's directorial debut. Existing Keystone documents list Joseph Maddern as the sole director. In his autobiography, Chaplin cites Caught In The Rain, released two weeks later, as the first film he directed. However, in a letter to his brother, Sydney, from August 1914, Charlie lists the films in which he had appeared marking six of them as "my own" with Twenty Minutes Of Love being the first (below). We don't know what Chaplin may have meant by "my own" but it's possible that he was referring to the storyline. In Chaplin's 1924 article "Does the Public Know What It Wants," he describes how during his early days at Keystone he was called upon to make a short comedy. "When I reached the studio of the old Keystone Company I was told by the director that a short comedy was needed, and needed that day. I was promised that if I could turn out the sort of picture that was wanted I would receive an extra twenty-five dollars. I had no story, I hadn't even an idea, and I had no actors,  but I wanted that twenty-five." Chaplin goes on to describe rounding up the actors and coming up with the story.* "The resultant picture," Chaplin wrote, "was called Twenty Minutes Of Love." It is also suggestive that Chaplin remembered in his autobiography that the song "Too Much Mustard" inspired the action of the film. In the end, it's likely that Maddern may have directed the film but served as more of a watch dog, making sure the film was completed on time and on budget, while Chaplin created the scenario and gags.

From Chaplin: His Life & Art by David Robinson

* Chaplin goes on to describe a scene that doesn't appear in the finished film: "The character that I play in all my films was to be on a bridge, standing on the rail about to jump. A pretty girl passes by, and the would-be suicide changes his mind." (Chaplin, "Does The Public Know What It Wants" Adelphi, January 1924, reprinted in Peter Haining, The Legend of Charlie Chaplin.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Keystone banquet at Levy's Cafe, 1915

Charlie was already at Essanay by this time, but you'll recognize many of his co-stars. It's always interesting to see these folks out of costume.

From Father Goose: The Story Of Mack Sennett by Gene Fowler (1934)

Friday, October 11, 2013

RIP Chester Conklin (January 11, 1886 - October 11, 1971)

Conklin was a regular in Chaplin's Keystone comedies (he even had a part in Making A Living, Chaplin's first-ever film). He reunited with Chaplin in Modern Times in 1936 and in the famous scene in The Great Dictator as the man Charlie shaves to Brahms' "Hungarian Dance #5."
Conklin appeared in over 300 films during his long career which began in 1913. His last onscreen appearance was in 1966's A Big Hand For The Little Lady.

Motion Picture, June 1917

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy birthday, Chester Conklin (January 11, 1886 - October 11, 1971)

Mabel Normand, Chester & Phyllis Allen in Gentlemen Of Nerve (1914). I love to watch Phyllis & Chester flirting in this scene.