Rare Chaplin film could be national treasure
A TREASURE trove of old films that once belonged to a Camborne student's Charlie Chaplin-loving grandfather may contain an unseen version of the comedy master's iconic roller skating film.
Kirsty Richards, 20, took an interest in the old movie collection after her family cleared out an old trunk that had been gathering dust for 16 years following the death of her grandfather Stanley Nichols.
Tucked amongst other cinematic classics she found an unedited version of the 1916 silent movie Rolling Around - more commonly known as The Rink - which tells the comical story of waiter Charlie’s lunch-break spent roller skating.
Kirsty’s mum Alyson recalled: “We’ve watched part of the Charlie Chaplin film; we ran it a couple of years ago to see what was on it.”
She added that the film was similar to a modern copy of The Rink that she owns, but in this version the silent movie text-screens were missing and the cinematic shots appeared disordered.
According to family legend Mr Nichols actually met Charlie Chaplin, although the circumstances of this rendezvous are unknown.
Kirsty first brought the 9.5mm films into Cornwall College Camborne to see if they could be copied onto DVD, sparking off much interest from her tutors about whether it could be a significant find.
Currently nobody dares play the movie because the old projectors used to screen it are notoriously temperamental and can chew up a reel. However an assistant editor at BBC South West has expressed an interest in knowing more about the discovery.
The Media Extended Diploma student said: “The films have been around as long as I can remember, but a few days ago we just decided to do something about them.
“I sort of knew what was in there but I had not really looked before.”
The rediscovered collection of Mr Nichols - who was an award-winning associate of the Royal Photographic Society before his death in 1995 - also included previously overlooked footage of Britain celebrating VE day at the end of World War Two.
His photographic prints, many around a family farm in Tanzania, still adorn the family home and have been inspirational for Kirsty, who is now pursuing her love of media at the college.
“Grandad’s pictures have inspired me to take up media myself. We have one picture around the house, it shows two horses pulling a plough in a field.”
Speaking about her grandfather’s films Kirsty added she was also very interested in seeing the old footage if it could be transferred onto a DVD safely.
Extended Diploma Media Production course manager Rory Mason said: “Kirsty is an outstanding media production student and is on track to achieve the triple distinction, a grade she thoroughly deserves. It comes as no surprise to see that media history is in her blood.”
by Jamie Maddison (NCTJ Postgraduate Journalism student)