Featured: The Chaplin Mutual Project

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From: anonymous
By 1916, just two years after appearing in his first motion picture, Charles Chaplin had become the most famous entertainer in the world. Buoyed by his enormously successful comedies for Keystone and Essanay, he was offered the largest salary ever extended to a motion picture star—$670,000 for a single year’s work—to make twelve two-reel comedies for the Mutual Film Corporation. For Mutual, Chaplin produced what many film historians believe to be his best works. Few artists seminal to a medium leave a detailed history that charts the early evolution of their craft. Although the initial Mutuals have the feel and structure of Chaplin’s earlier, less sophisticated films, the progression of the series to the final four Mutuals is truly inspiring. Viewing the Mutual-Chaplin Specials is comparable to turning a camera on Thomas A. Edison in Menlo Park and capturing unhindered the inventor’s moments of pure inspiration. The thrill in watching nearly all of the Mutuals comes in the Promethean moment when Chaplin’s inventiveness intersects with his genius and produces cinematic comedy sequences unlike any before. The Mutuals are Chaplin’s laboratory, offering an unprecedented glimpse into the inner workings of the mind of a great cinema pioneer. The Mutual Film Corporation created a subsidiary called The Lone Star Corporation solely to make the Chaplin films. Lone Star paid Chaplin $10,000 a week plus a $150,000 signing bonus for the twelve two-reel comedies. The unprecedented sum would set the standard for the salaries of motion picture stars. Indeed, Mary Pickford, known as “America’s Sweetheart,” did not allow Chaplin’s record-breaking salary to go unchallenged. The company provided Chaplin his own studio, named The Lone Star Studio. The facility was formerly the Climax Studios, located at 1025 Lillian Way in Hollywood, and later would be used by Buster Keaton to make all his independently produced silent two-reel and feature-length films. Chaplin made approximately one film a month but several required more time, and the series ultimately took eighteen months to complete. Although this may appear to be remarkably swift work, it was a leisurely pace compared to the speed he had been required to maintain at Keystone and Essanay.
3323 days ago




A short film created by Danny Blackstock, Glen Cheng, Stephanie Bourgeois, and Melinda ...