Charlie and Edna

Work
R: Charles Chaplin. B: Charles Chaplin. K: Harry Ensign, Roland Totheroh. D: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Billy Armstrong, Marta Golden, Charles Inslee, Paddy McGuire. P: The Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1915
Print: Restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Lobster Films in collaboration with Film Preservation Associates, from a nitrate fine grain preserved at The Museum of Modern Art and a nitrate print preserved at the British Film Institute. (IMDb)

Chaplin‘s career at Essanay began when negotiations between Keystone Studios’ impresario Mack Sennett and Chaplin stalled. Chaplin had been making $150 a week at the beginning of the year; now, he wanted $1,000 a week, an unheard of sum. That was more than he made himself, as head of the studio, protested a pained Sennett. But, said Chaplin, it was not Sennett, but Chaplin who brought the audiences to Sennett’s films. The dispute became public, and G.M. Anderson and George K. Spoor (their initials made up Essanay’s name) offered Chaplin an astounding $1200 a week, and the opportunity to make fewer films. (Chaplin had made 35 films in his hectic year at Keystone.) Chaplin’s Essanay career was brief; he made films there during 1915 and part of 1916, a total of 14 films, before he jumped to still more money — $10,000 a week and a $150,000 bonus, an astronomical sum — at Mutual.”
Kevin Hagopian
New York State Writers Institute

A Jitney Elopement
R: Charles Chaplin. B: Charles Chaplin. K: Harry Ensign. D: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Lloyd Bacon, Ernest Van Pelt, Leo White. P: The Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1915
Print: Restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Lobster Films in collaboration with Film Preservation Associates, from a nitrate fine grain preserved at The Museum of Modern Art and a nitrate print preserved at the Cinemathèque Royale de Belgique. (IMDb)

“This was the first film that would focus on developing a romance between the characters played by Chaplin and Edna Purviance (reflecting their off-screen real lives), an area that many of the subsequent films would build further upon. The whole premise of the short develops from the Tramp’s attempts to save Edna from the arranged marriage her father (Ernest Van Pelt) has contracted with Leo White’s Count. (…)
Amid the action, Chaplin never forgets that it is character that counts. The opening of the film sees the Tramp holding a flower, suggesting the character’s softer and more emotional or caring side. This would be an image that Chaplin would repeat and develop as his filmmaking became more sophisticated, with the contrast between the freshness and vitality of a flower with the broken down aspect of the Tramp becoming one of the filmmaker’s favourite juxtapositions. Notice, also, in this sequence, Chaplin’s use, as director, of an iris out effect (a circular transition effect achieved in the film developing lab — a facility which Essanay lacked prior to Chaplin’s arrival) to emphasise the detail of the flower. Cinematic technique or clever direction or camerawork was never central to Chaplin’s comedy or Rollie Tothero’s cinematography, but they would develop the ‘iris out’ as a signature finale to many of their shorts beginning with The Tramp.”
Brian J. Robb
Chaplin: Film by Film

The Champion
R: Charles Chaplin. B: Charles Chaplin. K: Harry Ensign. D: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Bud Jamison, Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson, Billy Armstrong, Lloyd Bacon, Bud Jamison, Paddy McGuire, Leo White. P: The Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1915
Print: Restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Lobster Films in collaboration with Film Preservation Associates, from a nitrate dupe negative preserved at the British Film Institute. (IMDb)

“In early 1915 Chaplin, who had recently signed a contract with the Essanay movie company located near San Francisco at Niles, California, began a search for a leading lady. After rejecting several chorus girls, Chaplin arranged a meeting with Purviance, who was working as a secretary and had become involved in San Francisco’s bohemian life. A Night Out (1915), made soon after that meeting, was the first collaboration of Purviance and Chaplin. Although her role varied from film to film, Purviance almost always appeared as Chaplin’s love interest, bringing a heartfelt gentleness and soft blonde beauty to her roles that sweetly complemented the chaos of Chaplin’s tramp character. In real life as in the films, Purviance and Chaplin were romantically involved, and they remained close friends even after their affair was over.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica

Read: How Chaplin Filmed The Champion – on Location in Niles

>>> From Keystone to Essanay: Chaplin 1914/15