18 Jul 2010

Film restorer stumbles upon very rare Chaplin film

8:08 am on 18 July 2010

A long-lost film featuring an appearance by a young Charlie Chaplin will be shown for the first time in almost a century at a film festival in the United States.

The 10-minute comedy, A Thief Catcher, was made in 1914.

It was discovered last year at an antiques sale by film historian and restorer Paul Gierucki, who bought it for $US100 without initially being aware the famous comedian was in the movie, the ABC reports.

"Two Keystone cops come walking out (in one scene) and I actually thought to myself, 'that looks like Chaplin'," he said.

" stopped, rewound the projector and watched it again, and again and again.

"It finally sank in that I had found a completely previously undocumented, unknown Charlie Chaplin film."

He says the film may have been only the third film Chaplin appeared in.

"It's remarkable. It changes the filmographies. It changes the history of his work."