Chaplin after editing The Immigrant? or A Dog’s Life?

Alternate photo with Rollie Totheroh (from
Variety advertising supplement for the Warner/MK2 DVDs, 2003)

It has long been thought that the photos above were taken after Chaplin edited A Dog’s Life in 1918 but it seems they were actually taken the previous year.  Chaplin’s longtime press agent, Carlyle Robinson,* included the photo in an article that was published in Liberty magazine in 1933 “The Private Life Of Charlie Chaplin.” The caption states that it was taken after cutting was completed on The Immigrant (1917)Robinson goes on to say that by the time Chaplin finished with the editing, his “beard had grown…his hair was a matted mess” and he was “collarless, haggard, and dirty”–just like in the photo.

Photo and caption (upper right) from “The Private Life Of Charlie Chaplin”
by Carlyle Robinson, Liberty, 1933
 (reprinted in Liberty in 1972)

Below left is a photo of one of the buildings at the Lone Star studio where Chaplin filmed The Immigrant (A Dog’s Life was filmed at his brand new studio on La Brea). Note how the windows (and the building itself) are very similar to the ones behind Charlie at right.

Photo on left from Silent Traces by John Bengston.

I’m not sure if the Chaplin Archive has an actual date for this photo because I’m curious how it ever came to be associated with A Dog’s Life--possibly because Chaplin spent several days and nights cutting that film as well. However, at this point I’m convinced that this photo was taken after The Immigrant (or at least during the Mutual period).

*Robinson was press agent from c. 1917-1932.


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