Showing posts with label Phyllis Allen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Phyllis Allen. Show all posts

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Chaplin's third Mutual film was released 100 years ago today.

A classic Chaplin entrance showing only his familiar feet.
We get to see a lot of Chaplin's left-handed fiddle playing in this film.
Edna, the Gypsy Drudge
His crazed violin playing for Edna causes him to fall into the tub. A precursor to the final scene in Limelight.
An artist, played by Lloyd Bacon, takes an interest in Edna. Bacon went on to become a successful director.
Among his credits are the Busby Berkeley musicals 42nd Street and Footlight Parade.
"Goodby, little girl" or is it?

Chester Courtney, a fellow comedian with the Fred Karno troupe, who was employed by Chaplin at the time, recalled watching the final scene (above) being filmed: "Both Chaplin & Edna were in tears, and, as he took his last farewell, lifted his narrow, pathetic shoulders in a wistful gesture of resignation and sloped away towards the evening light, there was not a tearless eye among the 20 persons who watched spellbound."

The story goes that Chaplin filmed an alternate ending to The Vagabond in which Charlie attempts suicide by throwing himself into the river. He is rescued by a homely maiden (played by Phyllis Allen) but plunges back into the water after one look at her face. It is up for debate whether or not this footage exists, or ever existed. However, two contemporary trade magazines described this second ending: A pre-release blurb in the June 24, 1916 issue of Reel Life (a Mutual publicity magazine) and in an apparent review in the July 29, 1916 issue of the New York Clipper. Both describe Chaplin's suicide attempt being thwarted by a "buxom country maiden" (Phyllis Allen) who had befriended him.* Reel Life goes further and describes Allen's character as a farm woman whom Charlie has been flirting with in order to get such things as free eggs. That's why, when he attempts suicide, she jumps in to rescue him. There is a brief scene in the final film where Charlie gets some eggs from a farm woman but we don't see her face. Here is a screenshot:

Below is a real shot of Phyllis from behind (from The Rounders).

I don't think the farm woman is Phyllis because her hair is lighter and she just seems smaller to me. But I could be wrong. Nevertheless, Phyllis does appear in the movie at the end (at least I think it's her). She is the other woman (below, second from left) who arrives in the car with Charlotte Mineau. I haven't watched the Mutuals in a while but I don't recall seeing Phyllis in any of the other films so it's interesting that Chaplin cast her in this one.

The Chaplin Archive, ed. by Paul Duncan
Chaplin's Vintage Year by Michael Hayde
Chaplin: His Life & Art by David Robinson

Monday, November 9, 2015

HIS TRYSTING PLACE, released November 9th, 1914

Written and directed by Charlie Chaplin.

Mabel Normand is brilliant as the frazzled wife and mother. 
"Here, play with this [a gun!]"
This is not the first film to show Charlie with a wife,
but it is the first to show him in a domestic situation.
Charlie tries to shield himself from Mack Swain's sloppy eating.
After a brawl with Mack Swain at the restaurant, Charlie accidently takes his coat,
 and vice versa.
Due to the coat mix-up, Mabel thinks Charlie is "trysting" with Phyllis Allen.
And you can imagine what Phyllis is thinking when she finds a baby bottle in her "husband's" coat.
But all's well that ends well...

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.

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.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

PAY DAY, released April 2nd, 1922

Charlie used reverse photography for the bricklaying sequence.
The great Phyllis Allen plays Charlie's battle-ax wife.
A drunken night out. Syd Chaplin is on the left. 
Charlie's use of artificial lighting for the nighttime street car scene
 was sophisticated for the time.

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)