A Thief Catcher (Keystone, 1914), featuring a previously unknown performance by silent comedy star Charlie Chaplin, will have its West Coast re-premiere during the 46th annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood California over Labor Day Weekend, September 2-6, 2010
Chaplin is officially credited with appearing in thirty-five films during his year at Keystone in 1914, but he claimed in various interviews that he had also played bit roles as a cop and a barber while at the studio--but he did not name the films, and although there has been some speculation about the possibility of additional Chaplin-Keystone appearances, none has turned up until now. Film collector Paul Gierucki found a 16mm film print in a trunk at a Taylor, Michigan, antique store last year. "I could tell it was a Keystone comedy, so I haggled and got it for $100," says Gierucki, but he didn't get around to looking at the print for several months. When he did put it on a projector this past March, he was astonished when Chaplin appeared as a cop about six minutes into the film for an extended two-minute cameo. "My heart stopped," Gierucki recalls. "I recognized him immediately."
Starring Keystone's famed comic villains Ford Sterling and Mack Swain, with support from Edgar Kennedy, A Thief Catcher was in production between January 5-26, 1914, soon after Chaplin arrived at the Keystone studio, and it represents the second or third screen role for the soon-to-be world famous comedy star.
A Thief Catcher is one of nearly forty rare and unusual films to be screened during the five-day Cinecon film festival, and will be shown on Saturday afternoon during a themed film preservation segment of the program.