The Chaplin Keystone Project

Lobster Films   |   France

Lobster Films, Cineteca di Bologna and the British Film Institute, under the aegis of the Chaplin Estate/Association Chaplin, jointly undertook the complex project of restoring the thirty‐five short comedies that Charlie Chaplin acted in/directed between January and December 1914 at the Keystone studios. These films constitute an invaluable treasure for they were Charlie Chaplin's very first steps in cinema: in each he experimented some aspect of acting and relating to the camera ‐ bringing his British music-hall humour to film and swiftly adapting it to the Keystone's structure ‐ and film technique ‐ from fast cutting to extended takes. From the first release the public was conquered. The Tramp, the most popular figure of the slapstick cinema, was born.The Chaplin Keystone project is a perfect example of collaboration between Film archives, which took seven years. The three partners (Cineteca di Bologna, the BFI and Lobster Films) share a long history and commitment in the preservation and dissemination of Chaplin's legacy: thanks to extensive research, preservation and production work as well as to the purchase of important French and American catalogues. A complete survey of the surviving prints and elements ‐ as well as other extra‐film materials was finally made and in five years, materials were traced in over 15 different countries, both from national film archives (20) and private collectors.