$64k unseen Chaplin film bought on eBay for $5

Random items often crop up on eBay, but an antique collector from Essex, UK, was especially shocked after buying a battered container with an "old film" inside from the popular auction website.

He discovered that the film inside his £3.30 ($5) purchase was titled Charlie Chaplin in Zepped - an unseen movie starring the early cinema legend.

The buyer, Morace Park, could find no mention of the film on the Internet, so teamed up with his neighbour, a former head of education at the British Board of Film Classification, to unravel its mystery.

Charlie Chaplin
Chaplin: tried to sue filmmakers

Zepped is seven minutes long, mixing animation and live footage of Chaplin. Experts believe that the film was edited together from out-takes by Essanay - the film company Chaplin worked for in 1914 before parting ways over contractual and salary disputes.

Following analysis by film and Chaplin experts, the film has been valued at an incredible £40,000 ($64,000).

The movie opens with Chaplin in a dreamscape with a Zeppelin bombing attack. Chaplin is shown to poke fun at the Zeppelin, then a powerful and fear instrument of terror.

"It is an extremely interesting find. An unknown and uncatalogued Charlie Chaplin film," said film expert Michael Pogorelski, reports Yahoo!Movies.

Chaplin tried to sue Essanay, after the company repeatedly attempted to get extra mileage out of their star by adding extra scenes to his existing films with the intention of re-releasing them.

Zepped's litigious history could explain why it has never been seen by a wider audience.




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