1928 Chaplin film shows woman using mobile phone

1928 Chaplin film shows woman using mobile phone

The baffling scene is found in the extras section of Charlie Chaplin's 1928 movie "The Circus", Daily Mail reported Wednesday. It shows members of the public attending the premiere of the film at Manns Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

The footage shows an older woman dressed in a coat and hat with her hand held up to the left-hand side of her face as she talks. There is no one around for her to be speaking to apart from a suited man who strides on ahead at the beginning of the shot.

Even her gestures and behaviour as she "talks" will be eerily familiar to modern-day viewers as she appears to stop, mid-sentence, during her apparent conversation. The bizarre anachronism was unearthed by film buff George Clark on his Charlie Chaplin box set.

He says he has shown it to more than 100 people and still no one can come up with a convincing explanation.  Some viewers have suggested she is listening to a portable radio close to her face, although this would not explain why she appears to be talking.

Others say she may be displaying signs of schizophrenia and covering her face to hide the fact that she is talking aloud to herself.  It has also been suggested that she is simply trying to hide her face from the camera so she is not filmed.

The first device that could be likened to a mobile phone was Motorola's original 'Walkie-Talkie' which was developed in the 1940s, but that was the size of a man's arm and still came more than a decade after the Chaplin film.