Rare film of moment Charlie Chaplin met Harry Lauder to be screened

Sir Harry Lauder (second left) with Sir Charlie Chaplin (second right). Picture: PA
Sir Harry Lauder (second left) with Sir Charlie Chaplin (second right). Picture: PA
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A RARE screening of the moment Charlie Chaplin and Sir Harry Lauder met on film is to be shown at a new comedy film festival.

The eight-minute film featuring Portobello’s famous son will be screened at the restored Campbeltown Picture House as part of the inaugural Scotland’s Comedy Film Festival (SCOFF).

A “short” made for cinemas in 1918, the film sees Lauder join Chaplin in some skits, including a mimicry of each other’s well-known gait.

The film was made to promote a fundraising project Lauder had set up for soldiers injured during the First World War in memory of his son, but it was never finished or shown publicly at the time.

It will be shown as part of the Bunkered! strand of the festival, a programme of Big Screen Comedy from the Archives.

Shona Thomson, from A Kind of Seeing who curated Bunkered!, said: “Scotland has an international reputation for its much-loved comedians and you can see it in the on-screen warmth between Sir Harry Lauder and Charlie Chaplin.

“It’s so exciting to be able to bring this selection of films from the varied collections of the National Library of Scotland, BFI National Archive, STV, the Stroke Association and the Chaplin Office/Roy Export SAS back to the big screen in the glorious Campbeltown Picture House.”

Other film comedy which will feature in Bunkered! includes Chic Murray visual gags, Stanley Baxter and Jimmy Logan being serious, and Rikki Fulton and Jack Milroy’s Francie & Josie act, while other films to be shown during SCOFF include Blazing Saddles and The Man in the White Suit.

Ailsa MacKenzie, SCOFF programmer, said: “We are delighted that we have been given the opportunity to screen the famous Lauder-Chaplin film.

“Even more exciting, we will have live musical performance complementing the footage performed in the Picture House by acclaimed singer, BBC presenter and Lauder expert Jamie MacDougall with Scottish Opera’s head of music Derek Clark on piano.”

SCOFF will run at Campbeltown Picture House from May 11-13. The historic cinema in Argyll and Bute, built in 1913, was officially relaunched following a £3.5 million restoration.