University of Bristol - Historical Photographs of China reference number: DC-s05. This photograph is thought to show the filming of A Visit to China (Huaji dawang you Hu ji 滑稽大王游沪记 "The King of Comedy Visits Shanghai ") or a re-enacted studio tableau of the filming. The King of Comedy Visits Shanghai was directed by Zhang Shichuan and was the first film made by Star (Mingxing) Motion Picture Producing Company, Shanghai, released in 1922. The film featured the British ex-pat Richard Bell (Ritchie Bell), who was a Shanghai-based Chaplin imitator/impersonator. Richard Bell worked at the New World as a clown. As it happened, the real Charlie Chaplin visited Shanghai in 1936 and attended a banquet hosted by Mingxing Studio – as the film The King of Comedy Visits Shanghai had depicted. Source: American and Chinese-Language Cinemas: Examining Cultural Flows edited by Lisa Funnell, Man-Fung Yip (Routledge, 2014) and Chinese Movie Magazines: From Charlie Chaplin to Chairman Mao, 1921-1951 by Paul Fonoroff (Thames and Hudson, 2018). A similar photograph to this (but featuring different people, including, it seems, Thomas Crellin as the cameraman and, perhaps, Richard Bell again impersonating Charlie Chaplin), was published in The Kodak Magazine (Vol IV, No 2, July 1923). See also http://www.thatsmags.com/shanghai/post/5873/history-of-the-hai-when-charlie-chaplin-came-to-town.
Richard Bell as Charlie Chaplin, during filming of 'The King of Comedy Visits Shanghai'
Black and white photograph