Project Description

Charlie Chaplin: Sunnyside

A very warm welcome to the fifth in our series of monthly releases of limited edition Charlie Chaplin photographs for 2019—part of our celebration of the 130th anniversary of his birth—where each month we focus on a key Charlie Chaplin film.  

Over the course of 2019 we will build a substantial collection of important Charlie Chaplin photographs—all of which are available to purchase and hang on your walls at home or in your office. 

You can see photographs from previous months here. This month we launch a collection of images from Charlie Chaplin’s third film for First National, Sunnyside, released in 1919. 

The images that follow are available to purchase in limited editions as museum-quality archival handmade silver gelatin photographs, in a range of sizes from 10 x 12 inches to 48 x 60 inches.

Scroll down and select an image for full details.

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Sunnyside (1919)

Limited edition photographs available to purchase.

Sunnyside, released in 1919, was Charlie Chaplin’s third film for First National Films.

In his autobiography, Chaplin recalled that making Sunnyside was “like pulling teeth”. From time to time, like any artist, Chaplin experienced creative blocks; but this was one of the worst in his career. No doubt one cause was his private life. Late in November 1918 he had married a 17-year-old actress, Mildred Harris.

Barely a week after the marriage, he was back at the studio with a plan to put Charlie into a rural setting, as the put-upon man-of-all-work at a seedy country hotel. He took the unit on location to one of the ranches that were still close by in that rural California, and hired horses, cows and cowboys – but the ideas for comedy did not come. After more than three months of idleness and a temporary abandonment of the project, Chaplin suddenly forced himself into a three-week spurt of energetic activity, after which he was able to complete Sunnyside.

It is a more interesting film than Chaplin or his critics gave him credit for. The spectacle of Charlie in a rural setting is novel, and provides some unexpected gags. The ending is ambiguous and whether it is a happy or a sad one is left to the imagination of the viewers. Critics have long argued as to whether the final scene is real or a dream. 

Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up
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Charlie works as a farm handyman at the run-down Evergreen Hotel in the rural village of Sunnyside. He has endless duties inside the hotel as well as farm chores. In this scene, he is seen serving a ‘sunny side up’ fried egg and breakfast coffee to his boss, played by Tom Wilson.

Dancing with the nymphs

Dancing with the nymphs
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In a memorable scene from the film, Charlie, knocked unconscious, dreams that he dances with four wood-nymphs. This virtuoso performance is clearly a tribute to the ballet L’Après-midi d’un faune, created and performed by the great Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinski. Nijinski had visited Chaplin’s studio and the two men clearly had a great mutual admiration.

Dancing with the nymphs II

Dancing with the nymphs II
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Charlie dances during filming of the dream sequence with the nymphs played by actresses Olive Alcorn, Olive Burton, W. Mae Carson, and Helen Kohn.

Revelry with the village kids

Revelry with the village kids
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Chaplin enjoys the company of local children while filming the cattle scenes in the San Fernando Valley. About the film Chaplin has been quoted saying, “In this picture we work with animals, and animals get temperamental; a cow even had a pretty little calf just as we’d gotten out on location 40 miles from town—that spoiled work for the day.”

Walking into the sunset

Walking into the sunset
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This beautiful photograph captures Charlie Chaplin’s iconic silhouette from the back herding cows along a dusty long country road.

Sweetheart’s living room

Sweetheart’s living room
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Charlie falls in love with the village girl played by Edna Purviance. In this romantic scene the duo is seen playing the piano.

The village

The village
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Photographs such as this—which document the empty set where important film action took place—will be a feature of each collection of photographs we launch throughout 2019.

Even though this photograph acts as a simple photographic record of the set layout, it is remarkably evocative—it is impossible to look at this photograph without thinking of the action that took place there.

Charlie and the village bystanders

Charlie and the village bystanders
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After being hurt in a car crash the city slicker is being cared for by the village girl. He appears to have an eye for her too. Chaplin tries to win her back by dressing as the city man does and is mocked by the village boys.

 Want to see more?

To find out all about our plans for 2019—in which we celebrate the genius of Charlie Chaplin—just click on the green button below, and read on.

Back to the Charlie Chaplin main page

Charlie Chaplin ™ © Bubbles Incorporated SA 2019
Photographs © Roy Export S.A.S / Roy Export Co. Ltd
Scans by Cineteca di Bologna / Musée de l’Elysée