Charlie Chaplin Experiences “Cruel, Cruel Love”

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Today marks the centennial anniversary of the Charlie Chaplin Keystone comedy Cruel, Cruel Love (1914), directed by George Nichols. This movie is a little different from what we expect; at this early stage Chaplin is still trying out new things. Here he is most definitely NOT the Little Tramp character but a dude somewhat similar to his character in Making a LivingHere he plays Lord Helpus (get it?) who is romancing a damsel played by Minta Durfee. When Durfee sees him assisting a maid who has hurt himself she becomes jealous and hands him back his ring. He goes back home and takes what he thinks is poison. There follows the first of many dream sequences in Chaplin films. He goes to Hell and interacts with devils. Finally Durfee and her servants rush in to explain the misunderstanding and his own butler reveals that he has only drunk water. Melee ensues.

For more on comedy film history see my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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For more on show biz historyconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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