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Making a Living (1914)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  2 February 1914 (USA)
5.5
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An out-of-work swindler takes a job as a reporter. After witnessing a car go over cliff, he grabs a rival reporter's camera and races to the newspaper office to enter the photo as his own. ... See full summary »

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(uncredited)
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Title: Making a Living (1914)

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Cast

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Storyline

An out-of-work swindler takes a job as a reporter. After witnessing a car go over cliff, he grabs a rival reporter's camera and races to the newspaper office to enter the photo as his own. His rival is delayed when he gets caught in a woman's bedroom by her jealous husband. The swindler follows the distribution of the paper containing his 'scoop' around town where he is once again chased by the rival reporter. Both end up on the cow-catcher of a streetcar. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

reporter | keystone kops | See All (2) »

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 February 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Take My Picture  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film appearance of Charles Chaplin, and one of the few in those early years in which he does not play the Tramp. See more »

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Featured in Hollywood (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Chaplin bursts onto the scene!
7 April 2007 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

I have read a lot of negative reviews of Chaplin's first screen appearance, written by people who can't seem to get past the fact that the Tramp has not been discovered yet and Chaplin plays a character wildly different from the one that we know and love and with whom he is most associated with. It is a curious look at his early career, since Chaplin was acting on stage barely six months before this film was shot, and although his character, dubiously named Edgar English, is something of a swindling jerk, it is hard to imagine any actor putting on a charming performance with such a hideous mustache!

Many of Charlie's mannerisms are already very recognizable, and it is interesting to consider how similar his stage acting was to his film acting, since his style is already so clear. Consider his behavior upon noticing the Help Wanted sign, as well as the extensive fight scenes, which are even more breathless here than usual, since the pace of the film is so much faster than many of his short comedies of the time, given the primitive filming equipment.

Making A Living is a very unique film in Chaplin's filmography, not only because it is his first screen appearance, but also because it represents a real testing period in which he was truly unsure of himself as a screen actor. One cannot deny that it is interesting to consider how Chaplin looked back on this film in forming his persona, and what he thought worked here and what he should change. Also of note is the film's final shot, which features a stunt gag, something that would be very common in his later short comedies of this period.

Some have said that this is a film only for Chaplin fans and that casual fans of silent film should skip it, but I disagree. Chaplin is considered by many to be the greatest screen comedian of all time, but if you keep in mind that this is his first screen appearance and therefore not one of the greatest silent comedies of all time, I should think that any viewer with even a mild interest in silent film should find it interesting and entertaining.


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