The intranets are a funny thing. Here we have everyone going nuts over these 75 films from New Zealand that are coming back to the United States to be preserved. Not to diminish the importance of the that "find" but looking at the list of of what survived, I can't think of one film personally that I am DYING to see (OK, maybe Mabel Normand's "Won In A Cupboard") and it seems the majority of the media is overlooking what is perhaps one of the greatest lost film discoveries of all time.
I got a chance to see and talk with Paul at Cinefest this past March and when told me that he had, "a discovery that was going to change all the history books", I certainly wasn't expecting something like this!
Chaplin had recalled in his own autobiography that apart from his starring role Keystone Comedies, he had also played bit parts as a Keystone Kop in several pictures. Despite this information, the titles of these works remained elusive for over 90 years and no film prints have surfaced -- until now. SLAPSTICON 2010 proudly presents one of those previously thought lost Keystone comedies, A THIEF CATCHER, released by the Mutual Film Corporation on February 19, 1914. The short stars Ford Sterling, Mack Swain, Edgar Kennedy, and features Chaplin making an extended and very funny cameo as a policeman. The film was shot January 5th through January 26th, 1914, making it perhaps the second or third film Chaplin made at Keystone. The short was released following Chaplin’s third starring Keystone comedy MABELS STRANGE PREDICAMENT. Its importance as an early Chaplin appearance cannot be underestimated, and definitely adds another interesting chapter to Chaplin’s early film career.
Here is a frame grab, graciously permitted to be shown by Mr. Gierucki: