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The Chaplin Collection (Warner and M2K): reactions?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bill Burns, Jun 29, 2003.

  1. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Well-Known Member

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    The set streets tomorrow (I plan to pick up The Gold Rush), and the reviews begin with a DVDFile post on the entire set:

    http://www.dvdfile.com/software/revi...ollection.html

    It isn't as useful as I'd like, because the writer seems unaware of Image's excellent (and now out of print) editions of all these titles (none of which fit his description of "bargain bin cheapies ... with poor transfers" by a long shot). I can tell ya' that Image's edition of The Gold Rush didn't include the silent version, and the sound version didn't seem quite up to par with the CAV laserdisc I own of the title (though I've never directly A/B'd them), so I'm repurchasing that title, but if picture and sound elements are equivalent ... upgrades for those of us who own the Image's might be a tough sell. The HTF review of Modern Times suggests a gain is to be seen in image quality, though ... so perhaps it'll prove worthwhile to upgrade all of them? DVDFile's mention of "grime" suggests the films haven't been restored with the level of digital precision seen in Lowry's technology, but that's strictly presumption (and perhaps we shouldn't read too much into that review, given the author's unfamiliarity with the Image editions, which of course must be compared to these new discs to determine how much WB and M2K have really done to improve on what the Chaplin estate provided), as I haven't seen any of the new discs yet (but I own all of the Image discs, of which only a handful of the features -- The Circus, A Woman of Paris, Modern Times, The Gold Rush, and possibly Limelight and A King in New York -- looked as though image clarity and/or contrast might be notably improved with additional restoration ... but I should say that none of them "sparkle" in the manner of the nitrate print of The Iron Mask used for Brownlow's restoration of that film -- my CAV of The Gold Rush nearly does, however -- so perhaps these pictures could be restored to better capture some of that nitrate glow? It's all speculation, but the better the quality of the transfer, the happier this Chaplin fan; David Shepard's Image transfers are, as a whole, excellent, so Warner's has something to prove in reissuing all of them without any sort of rebate promotion for owners of the earlier discs, particularly given that many stores, such as Borders, continue to carry some of the long OOP Images).

    I hope these new discs prove stellar, and I look forward to reading further thoughts and reviews. [​IMG] I also continue to hope Shepard or others find a way to further restore and revisit the Chaplin Mutuals (Mr. Shepard has said the film elements have deteriorated still further since he created the video masters for the current editions, but surely something might still be accomplished digitally, with the proper financing, to restore these to film and then improve them on home video?), which don't look as good as I'd like alongside even the (Shepard restored) Essanays.

    I'll try to offer a few reactions to The Gold Rush* when I have a chance to view it. If HTF plans full, official reviews of each of the new WB discs, please ignore or close this thread. And just to be clear: I congratulate Warners on issuing these titles with such exhaustive supplementation and (new?) transfers, and they are most welcome in these new editions, but I hope specific detail about how they've been improved, if they have, is forthcoming. [​IMG]

    *While not exactly billed as such, the inclusion of the silent version marks Warner's first silent film on DVD. Now that is a cause for celebration! My thanks and appreciation to Warners for entering the silent arena. I'm very eager to see their Chaney discs, rumored for later this year.
     
  2. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Well-Known Member

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    I read the same reviews of the 4 Charlie Chaplin discs and I plan to get all 4 versions for the first time on dvd.

    I have not seen Gold Rush & Limelight, the other two I have seen

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Well-Known Member

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    This should answer your question. I saw it on a Chaplin newsgroup.

     
  4. Matt<>Broon

    Matt<>Broon Well-Known Member

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    I'm sold already since I don't have any of these films on DVD.

    I put my pre order for the new Chaplin box in only the other day and if it arrives on time it _should_ get to me at roughly the same time as the kino art of Buster Keaton pack.

    It looks like a month of the silents is coming up!

    On this subject, does anyone know of any plans to bring Harold Lloyd to our favourite shiny discs?
     
  5. Matt<>Broon

    Matt<>Broon Well-Known Member

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    Most peculiar. My previous post wasn't showing. [​IMG]
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    One of the more interesting notes on the new (Warner) Chaplin releases vs. the Image / CBS/Fox is the fact that some do contain slightly different cuts of the films, as Chaplin tinkered with them through the years.

    Each and every one makes for an interesting comparison, and as these are all films from one of the most creative minds in filmmaking, should be up for selection as "double-dips."

    Those who were able to acquire the films in their earlier DVD incarnations will have some interesting comparisons to make in a version to version sense.

    This set is one of the "must-owns," which I'll be getting into in a future discussion.
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    As RAH stated, I can't wait to compare these Warner releases to my Image dvds.
     
  8. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Well-Known Member

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    I was only going to get The Gold Rush for the silent version and stay with my old Image discs, which are perfectly good, and uncut to boot. But hearing David Shepard himself extol the virtues of the new discs may just make me rethink that plan...... [​IMG]
     
  9. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Well-Known Member

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    Yes I think I'll be investing in the R1 boxset. Here in the UK we have to wait till September 22nd for the R2 editions and although we're getting all 9 discs (all the Chaplin features apart from Countess)they appear to be one disc editions without extras !?

    Interesting to read what David Shepard has to say. I've only got the Image editions of City Lights and Modern Times and these look perfectly fine to me, particularly the former, I know there is some grain in it but the film still looks beautiful. The Image disc as well has the bonus of the original mono soundtrack of Chaplin's score and the updated version from 1989.

    The others including The Kid and The Gold Rush I only have in cheap Public Domain versions which are alright but lack Chaplin's music. I haven't any of the talkies on DVD at present. I too was a bit disappointed by the Mutuals in comparison to the Essanays not just because of the transfers but also the accompanying music. I've got Behind the Screen, The Vagabond, The Rink and The Immigrant in the old Blackhawk versions with the silly sound effects but much better music.
     
  10. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Well-Known Member

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    Derek

    Don't worry as the other 4 dvds will be released at a later time in R1

    and good to hear that RAH will be doing a feature on the Chaplin dvds

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Brian PB

    Brian PB Well-Known Member

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    There's a very thorough review of The Gold Rush up at DVD Journal.
     
  12. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Well-Known Member

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    Harold Lloyd on DVD : sad to say Matt that the third of the great silent clowns' major films don't look like they are coming to DVD in the forseeable future. I remember David Shepard said they were ready for DVD over two years ago and the Harold Lloyd Trust who hold the rights promised DVDs last spring (2002).

    Suzanne Lloyd appears to be having problems securing a deal to release these in a series of boxsets : I would think her attempts to get a deal have been going on for at least the last year and a half. Whether its the Trust's terms or a lack of interest which is holding these up I don't know : there was a rumour that Kino had been approached but the Lloyd Trust had demanded too much money.

    If this is the truth they should wake up and smell the coffee : they aren't going to get more for them than for say the Keatons unfortunately Lloyd (despite a month of screenings on TCM in the US) just isn't as well known as Buster and Charlie.

    The poor availability of these films is nothing new : Lloyd himself started it in his own lifetime by rarely reviving his films and the people who have owned the rights to them over the years have sadly continued to restrict the supply. You only have to compare them with the availability of the works of Chaplin and Keaton.

    Here we are discussing the second set of major DVD editions of all the Chaplin films and the Keatons were out individually and then as a boxset. How many Lloyds have we seen from The Trust ? Not one : the only Harold Lloyd films available on DVD are two starring shorts on Slapstick Encyclopedia : Haunted Spooks and Get Out and Get Under also Lloyd makes a guest appearance in the Our gang short Dogs of War in the same collection. The short Number,Please is also available on The Cook and Other Treasures DVD.
     
  13. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Well-Known Member

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    Please don't take David Shepard's work as inferior. In 1992, they were state of the art. The films had never been seen in such great quality until then. However, video technology has changed drastically... official restorations didn't exist for the films yet. Shepard used whatever film materials he could bring over to make video transfers off of. For example, City Lights required hundreds of alterations to get it to the quality seen in the final master. Now, we have full restorations and 2003 state-of-the-art transfers.

    I do hope, though, that the re-orchestration of City Lights' score (by the excellent Carl Davis!) makes it onto the new DVD in the next Chaplin wave. The film is greatly enhanced by the quality of it.


    Lloyd's Estate actually turned down Kino Video due to financial reasons. Kino sadly has poor distribution in brick & mortar stores, so that's likely why.

    They should consider WHV since they're doing a great job of promoting the Chaplins. Plus, they already have a great relationship with Turner Classic Movies. (Perhaps Lloyd's films can be part of the upcoming TCM DVD label)
     
  14. Jo_C

    Jo_C Well-Known Member

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    I must remind all of you that subliminally Warner and MK2 have nothing to do with the new Chaplin DVDs that are out. The "dummy" (i.e. in-name-only company) organization of the Chaplin Estate, the Roy Export Company Establishment, calls all the shots. All Warner and MK2 have to do with the new editions is individual distribution rights.

    By the way, for reasons someone has yet to explain (even Mr. Harris), you will never see the Export Company name in any other form except copyright notices.

    Maybe IMHO because the Chaplin Estate remains protective of its holdings I have never been a true fan of Chaplin films (United Artists has since the late 1960s lost all rights to Chaplin's material).
     
  15. Brian PB

    Brian PB Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] I'm not sure what one statement has to do with the other. Certainly without the involvement of the Chaplin Estate, we wouldn't have these gloriously restored films on DVD. Why shouldn't the Chaplin Estate do everything within its power to preserve and protect the legacy of his work? And how does that effect your enjoyment of his films???
     
  16. Brian PB

    Brian PB Well-Known Member

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    duplicate
     
  17. Jo_C

    Jo_C Well-Known Member

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    Maybe, Brian, it's because we hardly see them on television anymore...of course, until now. TCM recently struck a deal with the RECE (Roy Export Company Establishment) for the pay cable rights to the films. Maybe if I pay better attention I'll become a fan again.
     
  18. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    i thought that i read the new disc's would have the image release versions and the diferent cut versions too. via branching of some sort.
    i guess i was wrong. that was why i didnt buy the image versions. [​IMG]
     
  19. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Well-Known Member

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    If the Chaplin estate is protective of its holdings (I don't really agree with that statement) its at least always kept these films in front of the public whether on video and now DVD always in excellent quality editions. Compare that with the secrecy and protective practices which enshroud the Lloyd Trust.

    If Kino were turned down not just because of the money they were offering but because of poor distribution in stores that seems fair enough but still their distribution was apparently good enough for the Keaton boxset. Are the Lloyd Trust saying whats good enough for Keaton isn't good enough for Lloyd ? Compared with Lloyd Keaton is also much more well known because of the poor availability of Lloyd's films in the past. The audience is really going to be only silent film and comedy fans so the poor distribution argument is a bit of a red herring. I also wonder who apart from a specialist silent DVD producer is going to be interested in these DVDs ? Chaplins are connected to Warners but among the silents he is really an exceptional figure.
     
  20. Matt<>Broon

    Matt<>Broon Well-Known Member

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    It's a shame regarding the Harold Lloyd saga because frankly he was always my favourite as a youth. They used to run his films (or at least short snippets IIRC) on TV over here in the UK when I got back in from school (a number of years ago).

    I don't think I was sophisticated enough to truly appreciate Chaplins work so growing up Keaton and Lloyd were the comedy kings as far as I was concerned.

    I'd dearly love to see his work available on DVD. Maybe if I bombard someone like Tartan with letters they'll have a look at his work. [​IMG]
     

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