1914 Charlie Chaplin film found

MUMBAI: A short silent comedy named A Thief Catcher in which Charlie Chaplin made a brief cameo as a buffoon Keystone cop has been found.

The 10-minute 1914 film suddenly turned up late last year at an antiques sale in Taylor, Mich. After buying the same film historian Paul Gierucki thought that he was buying just another Keystone Studios comedy and didn‘t watch the 16mm print for months.

Then, in March this year, he saw Chaplin spring up onto the screen and slap some hooligans in the film starring Ford Sterling, Mack Swain and Edgar Kennedy. Chaplin can be seen on screen for a mere three minutes.

In doubt, Gierucki asked his friend and fellow film collector Richard Roberts and emailed Roberts a still image from the film. Once they saw the character‘s mannerisms, they were sure that it was Chaplin playing a two-bit part in one of his earliest films.

The first public screening of the film, since 1914, will be held this Saturday at a comedy film festival in Arlington, Va.

Gierucki and Roberts are part of a group called the Silent Comedy Mafia that organizes the annual Slapsticon festival at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre outside Washington.

The festival that began on Thursday features as many as 120 films over four days with live musical accompaniment for the silent flicks.

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