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Making a Living

Making a Living (1914) starring Charlie Chaplin

Making a Living was made in 1914 for the Keystone movie studio.  It was Charlie Chaplin‘s first movie role.   In many ways, it is a typical Keystone picture, short (15 minutes) with lots of slapstick and energy.   Charlie Chaplin is not his well-known tramp clown here.

In Making A Living, Charlie Chaplin plays a swindler who tries to become a reporter, stealing a competing reporter’s camera with a picture of a car going over a cliff, taking credit for the photo himself, and then trying to avoid the other photographer when the picture gets published.

Making a Living - Charlie Chaplin as a stereotypical Keystone villain

Making a Living – Charlie Chaplin as a stereotypical Keystone villain

In short, a high-energy film, entertaining though not laugh-out-loud funny.  It’s mostly worth seeing for its’ historical interest as Charlie Chaplin’s first film appearance.   It’s available on DVD as part of The Actors: Rare Films of Charlie Chaplin

 Trivia for Making a Living

  • In addition to Charlie Chaplin, many other early film clowns make an appearance.  These include Billy Gilbert, Chester Conklin, and Edgar Kennedy


Computer nerd by day, professional clown on evenings and weekends (Raynbow), who combines the two by maintaining a bunch of websites dedicated to the history and performances of clowning, such as Free Clown Skits, and comedy such as Best Clean Funny Jokes.

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