Silent Movie Rule #33: Cover those bare shoulders, lest you frighten Mr. Chaplin!

Charlie Chaplin is the star but Edna Purviance is the real show-stopper in Burlesque on Carmen, a darling little spoof they made together at the Essanay studio. After Chaplin departed for greener pastures, the Essanay folks padded out the short with all sorts of nonsense (Chaplin sued) and it was only available in this bloated format for years.


It’s a darn shame because it’s so much fun to see Chaplin and Purviance play around with their iconic characters. The grand finale is particularly cute:


You can read my review (it includes all the shady business dealings and other gossip) right here.

Availability: Thanks to Flicker Alley, there are now two ways to see a restored version of this short with the Essanay padding sliced neatly out and Chaplin’s original vision restored. You can watch it packaged with the film it is spoofing, Cecil B. DeMille’s Carmen, or you can see it in the spiffy new Chaplin’s Essanay Comedies box set. I own both editions and highly recommend them.

2 Replies to “Silent Movie Rule #33: Cover those bare shoulders, lest you frighten Mr. Chaplin!”

  1. Is it just me, or does the woman in the top gif resemble Alonzo the Armless in her manner of dress quite a bit?

    1. It would hardly be surprising if Edna Purviance and Lon Chaney had similar costumes as Carmen is described as a “Gypsy woman” and carnival and circus performers often adopted Roma dress and customs.

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