Carmen was originally intended to be released as a two-reel film on December 18th, 1915 but was held by Essanay until Chaplin left the company. In April 1916, an expanded four-reel version of the film was released, created with Chaplin’s discarded footage and padded out with new scenes, shot and assembled by Leo White & featuring Ben Turpin. Chaplin claimed in his autobiography that this altered version of the film disgusted him so much that it sent him to bed for two days. He attempted to sue Essanay for damages but lost the case. He later wrote that Essanay’s dishonest act “rendered a service, for thereafter I had it stipulated in every contract that there should be no mutilating, extending or interfering with my finished work.”

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