Unknown Chaplin film? Or re-edited film with Chaplin outtakes. That is what Morace Park, a collector in England, who bought a £3.20 film off ebay called 'Zepped' is researching to find out.
'Zepped' contains footage showing Chaplin, but the Chaplin footage could be never released outtakes, which Chaplin had many of during early film career. Still, unseen footage of Chaplin causes excitement. And could be worth up to $40,000.
"The find has caused a storm among experts and features unseen footage of Zeppelins flying over England during World War I, as well as very early stop-motion animation and outtakes from Chaplin films. The main animated sequence starts with Chaplin wishing he could return to England from America and fight with British soldiers. It shows him being taken on a flight through clouds before landing on a spire in England.
Mr Park said: 'It starts with live shots of Chaplin. It then turns into a dreamscape. 'We see a Zeppelin bomb attack. And then we see Chaplin taking the mickey out of the Zeppelin, at the time a powerful instrument of terror,' he told The Guardian.
The movie, shot on 35mm nitrate film, is believed to have been a First World War propaganda piece aimed at lessening the fear of airship bombing raids which Germany had been launching on Britain from the beginning of 1915.
Mr Pogorzelski believes the film is made from outtakes and footage from previous films reedited by Essanay and cut together with shots of Zeppelins and animated material. He described it as 'either piracy or entrepreneurship - depending on which side of the fence you're on'.
Simon Louvish, author of Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey, told the Independent: 'There are a number of these compilation films around, and in Senegal there were a number of films that had been cut together by other people using Chaplin footage. 'Keystone Pictures was going bust at the time and footage from these Chaplin films were freely available. This is less so of the Essanay films." - Daily Mail
The footage has been 'classified for exhibition' in Egypt. More about the story at this link.
Update: One of our loyal Edna fans and longtime Chaplin expert said he was asked about this film, and saw some of the footage. The footage he saw was taken from known released films of Chaplin, from the Keystone and Essanay era.