Charles Chaplin stars in KID AUTO RACES AT VENICE, directed by Henry Lehrman for Mutual Film.

Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914, Henry Lehrman)

Okay, Kid Auto Races at Venice makes a little more sense now… it was ad-libbed. Charlie Chaplin really was just doing annoying gags in front of people who are watching a baby-cart race.

Most the film consists of Chaplin acting like a jerk. He’s funny and appealing enough, but the short’s particular because of its handling of the camera. Initially, with Chaplin mugging for the camera, it appears he’s breaking the fourth wall. It then becomes clear he’s acting out in front of a camera.

Kid Auto Races director Lehrman plays the suffering director in Kid Auto Races, adding another layer to the whole thing.

It’s amazing Chaplin and Lehrman are able to keep it fresh, since it’s really just Lehrman eventually getting fed up and dragging Chaplin out of the shot.

The short also raises the historical question–did jerks often interfere with silent era newsreel photographers?

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Henry Lehrman; written by Lehrman and Charles Chaplin; produced by Mack Sennett; released by Mutual Film.

Starring Charles Chaplin (Tramp) and Henry Lehrman (Film Director).

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