Blooper reels have been a popular element of film and TV for decades: Actors like Burt Reynolds and Jackie Chan are well known for including outtakes during the credits of their movies, and TV networks have aired hilarious mistakes and outtakes from their hit shows for years. There’s something fascinating about seeing actors suddenly break character: Not only is it funny to see our favorite actors flub lines, or knock over props, but watching them abruptly morph from their famous on-screen personas back into their behind-the-scenes, real-life selves can be a surreal experience. That’s especially the case with actors from the distant past, like Charlie Chaplin, who contemporary audiences only know from his portrayal of classic characters.
Back in the 1980s, film historians Kevin Brownlow and David Gill uncovered a trove of unseen footage and lost outtakes from Chaplin’s early movies while doing research for a PBS documentary. The complete documentary, entitled Unknown Chaplin, weaves together that footage to capture Chaplin’s life and career. YouTube user prgwbtd has compiled the best outtakes from that documentary to create a blooper reel of nearly century-old footage. It’s a hilarious and humanizing look into the working process of a comedy legend (as prgwbtd notes, “Chaplin was a perfectionist, but he wasn't always perfect.”), and an important piece of what Kevin Brownlow calls “The Archaeology of Cinema.” Check it out above.
Banner Image Credit: prgwbtd, Youtube