A Film Johnnie (1914)
Director: George Nichols
Cast: Charles Chaplin, Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, Peggy Pearce
Synopsis: Charlie attempts to meet his favorite movie actress at the Keystone Studio, but does not win friends there.
A Film Johnnie was made fairly early in Chaplin’s career, when he was still being directed by others (George Nichols here, who had directed around 90 shorts and appeared in well over 100 by the time this film was made) for Mack Sennett’s Keystone Studios. Some have speculated that the movie was made as a kind of extended in-joke regarding Chaplin’s outsider status at the time due to his temperament which, if true, adds another dimension to the film. The film itself isn’t great, but it’s better than a lot of the stuff Chaplin (and Keystone) was churning out at the time, and it gives us a glimpse into the working life of an early studio and its contract players (Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, Mabel Normand and Ford Sterling are featured here). The highlight of the film is when Chaplin gets hold of a gun and starts firing indiscriminately.
(Reviewed 25th June 2009)