Is someone using a cell phone in a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film? -

Is someone using a cell phone in a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film?

Belfast filmmaker’s theory on film is going viral


Filmmaker George Clarke of Belfast has identified a mysterious woman who appears to be talking into a cell phone in the 1928 film, The Circus. In the film, the woman walks into frame in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, holding a black object to her face and talking into it. Clarke has taken an extreme interpretation of the brief and slightly blurry appearance, explaining in a YouTube clip that he believes the woman is a time traveler, and probably not human. After a painstaking frame-by-frame analysis of the black and white clip, and consulting with some 100 people about his theory, Clarke says he has concluded that the woman is from another era. An alternate theory suggests the device is a hearing aid. But, Clarke then wonders: “why is she talking into it?”

Toronto Star

Clarke’s theory on YouTube

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Is someone using a cell phone in a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film?

  1. I'll start sharpening Occam's Razor…

  2. If she traveled through time…. how does the cell phone work when there were no towers in 1928 and who would she be talking to? <sarcasm>Oh, wait. Maybe her cellphone has a time travel thingy connected to the antenna so she can talk to people from the future. </sarcasm>

    Its not a cell phone…. I don't know what it is, but it is not a cell phone.

  3. She is scratching her head.

  4. Could be a government secret device – or maybe a phone of some type communicating with the mother ship…
    anything is possible but if aliens – why haven't we seen more since 1928? If secret government device – would have cme out at least by the 40's…or maybe chaplin was playing a trick on all of us…

    • He was ahead of his time.

  5. i found that video rather interesting. in George's defense he wasn't boldly declaring the existence of time travelers. his postion is the same as mine. WTF WAS SHE TALKING INTO?

    • yes i am agree with theintellectual line nice thing

      bellows in india

  6. if there is time travel i would travel to friday night to find the lottery numbers
    ..and then travel back to now

    • Maybe all of today's lottery winners are time travellers?

      Personally I'd rather travel back in time and examine stock market quotes. That way I'd feel like I "earned" the money through my own intelligent decisions. :)

      • That is an interesting assertion. I wonder why all those time travellers would work in convenience stores?

  7. Obviously there is some logical explanation for it. But she looks like nothing other than a woman talking on a cellphone. If you watch the clip at varying speeds and zooms, she does not look like anything but a woman chatting on a mobile phone. Freaky.

  8. Buddy you had me until you showed the extreme slow-mo close up. The woman is shielding her face from the camera or from the very big and bright lights that would have been set up (look at the shadows there are multiple shadows going in different directions.. She's not holding anything because during the last dissolve, that shows a close up of her hand, you can see her moving her fore finger to straighten it out and the ring finger is also just starting to move. She's either chewing gum or grumbling about the camera (which would have been fairly large) pointing in her direction. The dark object she is holding is the tight curls of her hair at the back and the shadow on her face at the front. There would have been very large and bright lights set up also. Besides you don't grasp a cell phone like that. Apparently she doesn't know that holding an iphone like that kills the reception.

    • I agree. I initially thought she was trying to conceal her face from the camera for some reason but it makes even more sense that she was shielding her eyes from the klieg lights on the set.

      • Well if you look at the first guy that passes by you can see that his hat is shielding his eyes from the light, so is the woman's hat. The shadow is consistant with the hat, not her fingers. I would belive that if you would hold curls, witch are probably snug under her hat, you would hold them with the side of your thumb and if someone would hide their face I'm sure they would use all their fingure to do so, not only their curled fingers.

  9. I believe Mike Poska is onto something. The best explanation is that she walked into the camera's field by mistake, and she is hiding her face. She turns toward the camera crew right at the end and mutters some sort of embarrassed apology. Her movements at the end seem very self-conscious, and her smile seems awkward and embarrassed.

  10. The time traveller theory is a little silly. A time traveller is going to go to the trouble of dressing like a 'local' to fit in, but would walk around talking into an electronic device?

    The most obvious explanation is that she was hiding from the camera and talking. Also possible is that she was doing a Chaplin impression – he used to pretend random objects were phones.

  11. “why is she talking into it?” – A better question would be “Who could she be calling?“

  12. I believe she is not really holding anything in her hand. Quite possibly she is just pulling her hair over her face to hide from the cameras.

  13. She's just shielding her face from the camera, probably by holding up her collar. The 'talking' is just her commentary on finding the camera still aimed at her. If it had a soundtrack, we'd probably be hearing a few choice words.

  14. walkie talkies

    • Walkie Talkies were not developed until the Second World War, and even then the first ones were huge…. they used tubes since the transistor had not yet been invented.

  15. a small morse code mobile telphone

  16. Careful analysis of the video and lip movements has determined that she/he is saying, "Can you hear me now?" " Uh oh… someone has me on camera!"

  17. Credulous That this story has legs is very telling.