In December 1914, Charlie Chaplin began his one-year contract with the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company, shooting films in both their Chicago and California studios. In that one year he made fifteen films, earned an unprecedented salary and established himself as a firm box-office favourite. Audiences around the world clamoured to see his latest Essanay picture.
Unlike other artists, Chaplin had full control over his Essanay films from writing the scripts and directing through to choosing his cast members. Having trouble finding a leading lady, on one occasion he tested a rising young Essanay actress, and then promptly dismissed her. Her name was Gloria Swanson.
The films in this collection include The Champion, in which Charlie is rescued from a boxing match by his faithful dog, His New Job which parodies the filmmaking process, and The Tramp which forever established the image of Charlie's much-loved lonesome tramp in the popular imagination.
Despite their obvious importance, Chaplin's Essanay films have only previously been available in poor or incomplete prints. The films in this edition are the result of a nine-year search to find the best materials. These are the most complete editions available, and include scenes never before seen by audiences in the UK.
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