Charlie goes to the movie and falls in love with a girl on the screen. He goes to Keystone Studios to find her. He disrupts the shooting of a film, and a fire breaks out. Charlie is blamed, gets squirted with a firehose, and is shoved by the female star.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Although some sources credit Mack Sennett with playing himself, the film director, the role is actually played by Edgar Kennedy--who, besides being a comic actor, was also a respected director. See more »
Members of the audience behind Charlie Chaplin change - for example, Minta Durfee is sitting behind Chaplin in some shots, but a different actress is seated behind him in others. See more »
1930s reissue version, entitled Film Johnny, (released on DVD) omits the opening sequence in the movie theater. See more »
The film was produced in March 1914, during the post-Mabel's Strange Predicament period when Mabel Normand was still refusing to work with Chaplin (Mack Sennett's autobiography). Sennett, however, managed to get Mabel into the film by displaying a poster depicting her as a champion racing driver. Chaplin is meant to fall in love with her image, but note that he takes the opportunity to disrespect the Keystone Girl by mocking her dirty, oily face. This is probably the film where new-boy Chaplin later says he had an angry confrontation with director 'Pops' Nichols. Long-serving Popsie almost had a seizure when the ranting Charlie told the old guy he knew nothing about directing pictures!
In any event, the warring pair managed to finish the movie, which has a weak story-line, but gives Sennett an advertising opportunity for Keystone. Charlie goes on to create uproar in the picture house when he sits on Mrs Arbuckle's lap, and overdoes the emotional stakes when Keystone's Peggy Pearce appears on screen.
Having been thrown out of the picture-house, Charlie decides to get down to the Keystone studios and meet the stars. He appears at Keystone as car loads of the company arrive, including Fatty Arbuckle from who he begs a dime. Minta Arbuckle merely laughs at the tramp- like Charlie, who she later described as being dirty and smelly. Incidentally the studio is not the real lot, and the set appears to be among some very upper-crust accommodation indeed. It is in fact the swanky Bryson Apartments on Wilshire Boulevard! After being told 'No bums here' by director Edgar Kennedy, Charlie forces his way into the studio, and who should he see on the set but the Keystone girl to die for – Peggy Pearce. Following attempts to force himself on Peggy and interfere with the action, Charlie acquires a revolver and begins to shoot up the set, sending the cast diving for cover. Our tramp now leaves the studio, slams the door behind him, and gives the aging doorman a swift kick.
A house fire occurring in the vicinity, sends the cast racing off in the Keystone cars, in order to obtain some 'atmosphere' for their film. For some unexplained reason, crazy Charlie is already on his way to the scene, and running down the middle of Wilshire Boulevard (or is it Broadway?). When Charlie reaches the fire (which appears to be in dusty old Edendale) he finds the film crew already setting up for a scene in which Peggy Pearce is being roughed up. The gallant tramp intervenes and incurs the wrath of the studio men, one of whom tries to brain him with a plank. When Charlie attempts to abduct Peggy, she responds by giving the tramp a good whipping.
According to Sennett, Chaplin had no designs on any of the Keystone starlets, and no success with women in general during 1914. He was right about the second part, but Charlie made amorous advances to both Peggy Pearce and Mabel Normand. Both were eventually to reject the 'lovable genius of a problem child' (as Mary Pickford called Chaplin). Several of Chaplin's sworn enemies are in this picture, including Pathe Lehrman and Pops Nichols. Everyone made representations to Sennett that Chaplin was impossible to work with, but Lehrman also said that Chaplin was in love with Mabel, and that Mabel was having various affairs (including, somewhat later, with Valentino). How did Sennett respond? He took the Tramp and the Jazz Babe out to dinner every night – what better way of keeping an eye on the recalcitrant pair.
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