Cast & Crew
Hampton Del Ruth
While serving dinner in an elegant restaurant, a bumbling waiter overhears a conversation between an inventor and his assistant concerning a miniature submarine and a plot to attack a gold-laden ship. Using a clever telephone device, the waiter discovers the duo's secret signalling code and exchanges the inventor's bag with that of an obnoxious female patron in order to secure the submerging key needed to operate the vessel. Dressed as a Navy admiral, the waiter beats the inventor to the harbor and gives the signal, which calls for a boat to take him to the submarine. Once on board, the waiter receives instructions on how to manipulate the vessel and promptly begins to play his part. The inventor and two henchmen arrive and a chaotic fight ensues. Hanging onto the periscope as the submarine goes under, the waiter nearly drowns but saves himself and, with the help of a Navy gunboat, defeats the underwater pirates.
A Submarine Pirate (1915) -
Syd was a natural entertainer. In 1905, he landed a slot as a comedian with Fred Karno's Music Hall , where he lobbied to get a job for his younger brother, too. Charlie's tenure with Karno launched him into the movies, to Mack Sennett, where he repaid the favor to Syd by lobbying Sennett to hire his older brother.
Sydney Chaplin joined the Sennett studios for a run of two- and three-reel comedy shorts about a selfish boor with oil-slicked hair parted in the middle, a moustache apparently swiped off Snub Pollard's face and stuck on upside down, and a well-padded rump. This was "Reggie Gussle," a character Syd had created for Karno and brought with him to Hollywood. The Gussle shorts were among the best things Sennett was making in this period, and A Submarine Pirate is one of the best of the Gussle shorts--and also the last. Syd was paired with ace director Charles Avery and a supporting cast of stalwart comedians including Phyllis Allen.
The submarine in question was an actual sub, on loan from the U.S. Navy in San Diego in exchange for publicity. According to the New York Times of November 15, 1915, the Navy's press secretary actually claimed they planned to use the film to encourage recruiting.
By David Kalat
A Submarine Pirate (1915) -
The working title of this film was Submarine Story. Studio records credit three people involved in the film by giving only their last names: Armstrong as cameraman, and Binney and Arnold as cast members. The submarine used in the film was borrowed from the U.S. Navy. The film, shot in part in the San Diego Navy yards, was officially approved by the Bureau of Navigation.
Released in United States March 1976
Released in United States March 1976 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Special Programs: Classic American Clowns) March 18-31, 1976.)