Behind the Screen

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Behind the Screen
Behind the Screen.jpg
Theatrical poster to Behind the Screen
Directed by Charles Chaplin
Edward Brewer (technical director)
Produced by Henry P. Caulfield
Written by Charles Chaplin
Vincent Bryan
Maverick Terrell
Starring Charles Chaplin
Edna Purviance
Eric Campbell
Cinematography Roland Totheroh
George C. Zalibra
Editing by Charles Chaplin
Distributed by Mutual Film Corporation
Release dates November 13, 1916
Running time 23 minutes
Country USA
Language Silent film
English intertitles

Behind the Screen is a 1916 short silent film written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin, and also starring Eric Campbell and Edna Purviance.

Synopsis[edit]

The film takes place in a movie studio. A stagehand named David (Chaplin) has a supervisor, Goliath (Campbell). Much of the film is slapstick comedy involving Chaplin manhandling large props, but other plotlines include a strike by the stagehands, and Purviance, who is unable to become an actress, dressing as a man and becoming a stagehand.

Chaplin kissing Purviance in Behind the Screen

Mention in The Celluloid Closet and Unknown Chaplin[edit]

The film is significant to the history of homosexuality in the cinema, as it contains a joke about the subject, which was relatively unusual at the time. After Chaplin learns that Purviance is really a woman, he kisses her while on the set; at this point, a male stagehand enters and, thinking that Chaplin has kissed a man, starts acting in an overtly effeminate way until Chaplin kicks him.[1]

The documentary series Unknown Chaplin revealed previously unseen footage from this movie, including an alternate take where Purviance's character is shown playing a harp, an outtake in which Edna, playing the guitar, starts laughing (the documentary supports the belief that Purviance and Chaplin were romantically involved at the time), and several takes of a scene in which Chaplin's character narrowly misses having his feet chopped off by an axe (accomplished by filming the scene backwards) -- this scene was never used in the final film.

Cast[edit]

Sound version[edit]

In 1932, Amedee Van Beuren of Van Beuren Studios, purchased Chaplin's Mutual comedies for $10,000 each, added music by Gene Rodemich and Winston Sharples and sound effects, and re-released them through RKO Radio Pictures. Chaplin had no legal recourse to stop the RKO release.[2]

See also[edit]

Media[edit]

Behind the Screen - 1st part 
Behind the Screen - 2nd part 
Behind the Screen - 3rd part 
Behind the Screen - 4th part 
Behind the Screen - 5th part 
Behind the Screen - 6th part 
Behind the Screen - 7th part 
Behind the Screen - 8th part 

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Celluloid Closet, DVD documentary (1995); Kenneth S. Lynn, Chaplin: His Life and Times (2003).
  2. ^ SilentComedians entry

External links[edit]