Edna Purviance in The Sea Gull (1926)

Source: The Sea Gull by Linda Wada

The Sea Gull (aka “A Woman Of The Sea”) was produced by Chaplin and filmed at the Chaplin Studios in 1926. It was directed by Josef Von Sternberg and starred Edna Purviance in her final film role in America (she made one more film in France in 1927, which was never released in the U.S.)

Since Chaplin owned The Sea Gull, he chose not to release it, evidently because the film was not what he wanted. In a 1966 interview, he told Richard Meryman that Sternberg came back with a “most puerile, infantile story.”

The film was burned in 1933 for tax purposes.  It is the only “lost” film ever produced by Chaplin. Another story suggests that a copy of the film existed until 1991 and was destroyed by Oona Chaplin before her death. Who knows if this is true, but when Meryman asked Charlie if he still had a copy of the film, his response was “No, I burned it.”

The following link contains a video that features original stills from the film, acquired by Edna Purviance historian, Linda Wada, when she visited Edna’s grand-niece in 2005. The intertitles are from the original 1926 title list created by Josef von Sternberg (from the Chaplin Archives):


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