His Prehistoric Past

His Prehistoric Past is a 1914 American short silent comedy film, written and directed by Charlie Chaplin, featuring a Chaplin in a stone-age kingdom trying to usurp the crown of King Low-Brow to win the affections of the king's favorite wife. As this film was the final one that Chaplin made at Keystone Studios, it was also the last film he made with most of Keystone's regular roster of comedians. Co-star Mack Swain would not appear in another Chaplin movie until 1925 when he had a prominent role in the classic Chaplin feature film The Gold Rush.

His Prehistoric Past
A scene from the film
Directed byCharlie Chaplin
Produced byMack Sennett
Written byCharlie Chaplin
StarringCharlie Chaplin
Mack Swain
Sydney Chaplin
CinematographyFrank D. Williams
Distributed byKeystone Studios
Release date
  • December 7, 1914 (1914-12-07)
Running time
21 minutes, 49 seconds (two reels)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film


Set in the stone age, King Low-Brow rules the land and a harem of wives. When Charlie arrives in this land (where every man has one thousand wives), he falls in love with the King's favorite wife. When the King falls over a cliff, he is presumed dead and Charlie crowns himself King. The King, however, is not dead and comes back and bashes Charlie over the head with a rock. It turns out it was a dream and a policeman bashed Charlie over the head with his club because he was sleeping in the park.


A reviewer from the San Francisco Call and Post wrote, "Charles Chaplin and other members of the Keystone Company have outdone all their previous fun-provoking efforts in the two-part film called His Prehistoric Past, which puts Chaplin in a dream state during which time he goes through a series of prehistoric difficulties trying enough to discourage even the strongest 'stone age' man."



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