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Chaplin's Goliath (1996)

 |  Documentary, Biography
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A film about the tall actor who was most famous for playing the quintessential villian for Charles Chaplin's Tramp character.



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Title: Chaplin's Goliath (1996)

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Credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Brenda Bull ...
Peter Menzies ...
Jimmy Logan ...
David Robinson ...
Sam Gill ...
David Totheroh ...
Bonnie McCourt ...
Jim Poole ...
Charlotte Logan ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Albert Austin ...
Himself (archive footage)
Henry Bergman ...
Himself (archive footage)
Eric Campbell ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)


A film about the tall actor who was most famous for playing the quintessential villian for Charles Chaplin's Tramp character.

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Did You Know?


A spokesperson for Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles, were Eric Campbell is buried, is seen stating that among other notable people laid to rest at the same cemetery are actress Hattie McDaniel and author Ray Bradbury. Although McDaniel, who died in 1952, is indeed buried there, Bradbury was very much alive when this documentary was made in 1996. Following his death in 2012, Bradbury was buried in Westwood Memorial Cemetery, also in Los Angeles. See more »


Features The Count (1916) See more »

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User Reviews

An overall very insightful look into the life of a gifted comedian who passed away too soon
24 December 2006 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

People who've seen Chaplin's most relevant short films (those he made from 1916 and forward, that is) recognize the heavy bully Eric Campbell once they see him, yet there's a remarkably small group who actually knows his name.

The documentary CHAPLIN'S GOLIATH is certainly a unique account for students of Chaplin's work, inasmuch as it describes the life of Campbell in a way no source has come close to do before. Chaplin hired lots of actors who eventually would make important impact, to large and small extent, on his movies. During the early years, most notable were Henry Bergman, Albert Austin and Leo White, and not to mention his leading lady Edna Purviance.

Still, Eric Campbell might have been the most important of them all, at least among the male members. One important factor was simply his heavy physical appearance, which did a superb contrast towards The Tramp's slenderness, and thus gave him the exact villainous character Chaplin sought. But besides being a remarkably high and strong man, Campbell was also a genuinely gifted performer who, through his grimaces and pantomime, could make the most dangerous burglars look like saints in comparison.

Campbell's exact date of birth is not fully clear, except that it must have taken place somewhere around 1880 in Scotland. At the age of twenty-one he married a pretty girl, who gave birth to a daughter in 1901. Campbell went along with the Fred Karno-troupe for several years until he settled down in New York during World War I. He eventually got in touch with Chaplin, whom he had known from the Karno-days, and was hired at his studio in early 1916. Campbell did his first Chaplin-movie appearance in the FLOORWALKER, a very successful two-reeler in which he played a cunning manager of a large department store. Cambell made a deep impression on Chaplin, and he continued to play similar roles in all of Chaplin's twelve Mutual-comedies with only one exception, a solo-short entitled ONE A.M.

CHAPLIN'S GOLIATH includes several very interesting interviews with the grand-daughter of Eric Campbell, Chaplin-biographer David Robinson and the grand-son of Chaplin's cameraman. It has been relatively hard to find since its original release in 1996, but is now included in Image's 90th Anniversary DVD-set of Chaplin's Mutual-comedies. If you're a silent comedy-buff, it is a must!

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