Vintage original 11 x 14 in. US lobby card from the teens silent film comedy, CHARLIE CHAPLIN'S BURLESQUE ON "CARMEN", released in 1916 by Essanay and directed by Charles Chaplin.
The image depicts Carmen - the Gypsy (Edna Purviance) as she playfully "vamps" Officer Darn Hosiery (Charlie Chaplin) while hiding from him. The border artwork depicts a second image of Chaplin. Printed for the film's 1948 US theatrical re-release by Favorite Films Corporation, it is unrestored in very fine- condition.
*"A Burlesque on Carmen is Charlie Chaplin's thirteenth film for Essanay Studios, originally released as Carmen on December 18, 1915. Chaplin played the leading man and Edna Purviance played Carmen. The film is a parody of Cecil B. DeMille's Carmen 1915, which was itself an interpretation of the popular novella Carmen by Prosper Mérimée.
Chaplin's original version was a tightly paced two-reeler, but in 1916 after he had moved to Mutual, Essanay reworked the film into a four-reel version called A Burlesque on Carmen, or Charlie Chaplin's Burlesque on Carmen, adding discarded footage and new scenes involving a subplot about a gypsy character played by Ben Turpin.
This longer version was deeply flawed in pacing and continuity, and not representative of Chaplin's initial conception. Chaplin sued Essanay but failed to stop the distribution of the longer version; Essanay's tampering with this and other of his films contributed significantly to Chaplin's bitterness about his time there. The presence of Essanay's badly redone version is likely the reason that A Burlesque on Carmen is among the least known of Chaplin's early works. Historian Ted Okuda calls the two-reel original version the best film of Chaplin's Essanay period, but derides the longer version as the worst.
Further reissues followed, for instance a synchronized sound version in 1928 by Quality Amusement Corporation. It was re-edited from the 1916 Essanay reissue, with a newly shot introduction written by newspaper columnist Duke Bakrak. This version, with rewritten title cards, poor sequencing, and "fuzzy" in appearance from generation loss, can be found today on some budget home video releases. Film preservationist David Shepard studied Chaplin's court transcripts and other evidence to more closely reproduce the original Chaplin cut. This version was released on DVD by Image Entertainment in 1999 and has since been restored a second time in HD."
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