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Charlie Chaplin Lives!


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#1 of 7 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 29 2011 - 09:53 AM

My nine year old daughter and I just enjoyed the heck out of Criterion's new release of Modern Times. She loves The Tramp! She giggled like she has at few movies, and was really touched by the story. Pretty amazing I'd say for a movie that's 75 years old. The new release has very good pq and aq for a film of this era. And it has some great making of docs that explain the special effects as well as an alternate ending that Chaplin worked on.

I see that The Great Dictator is coming up soon. I sure hope that Criterion is going to do all of Chaplin's major films. My favorites after these are City Lights, The Gold Rush, and The Circus, although there are others I like a lot too.

What are your favorite Chaplin movies? Why do you think he still lives on when so few actors who reached the peak of their careers in the 20s and 30s are known or enjoyed at all today...?


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#2 of 7 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 29 2011 - 10:06 AM

My review for the Criterion Blu-ray last November and the discussion that it generated can be found here.



If I want to laugh and cry, I watch City Lights, to me one of the half dozen greatest films ever made.


If I just want to laugh, I watch The Circus, my second favorite of his films (though he quite disliked it).



#3 of 7 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 29 2011 - 10:29 AM

Yes, the end of City Lights does make me cry too. Why didn't he like the Circus. I think it's a wonderful film. I'm sorry that I forgot to search for the previous thread. If possible, please feel free to cut and paste these posts there and then delete this thread.

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 29 2011 - 02:14 PM



Originally Posted by benbess 

Yes, the end of City Lights does make me cry too. Why didn't he like the Circus. I think it's a wonderful film.


I'm sorry that I forgot to search for the previous thread. If possible, please feel free to cut and paste these posts there and then delete this thread.


He was going through a terrible divorce and legal troubles during its making, and the comedy allegedly didn't come easily. He basically ignores it in his autobiography. When he was honored with a special Oscar for The Circus at the first Academy Awards dinner, he didn't even bother to show up to collect it.




#5 of 7 OFFLINE   JoHud

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Posted April 29 2011 - 03:52 PM

You know, I still have to buy that Flicker Alley set.


As for Chaplin films, I've loved everything up to the Great Dictator.  I actually haven't watched any of his films past that.  That will change once Criterion starts releasing them.  I can easily put City Lights as an absolute favorite, along with the silent Gold Rush.

Originally Posted by MattH. 




He was going through a terrible divorce and legal troubles during its making, and the comedy allegedly didn't come easily. He basically ignores it in his autobiography. When he was honored with a special Oscar for The Circus at the first Academy Awards dinner, he didn't even bother to show up to collect it.



Also, didn't the circus set burn down at one point, forcing him to rebuild and reshoot much of the film?




#6 of 7 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 29 2011 - 09:31 PM



Originally Posted by MattH. 




He was going through a terrible divorce and legal troubles during its making, and the comedy allegedly didn't come easily. He basically ignores it in his autobiography. When he was honored with a special Oscar for The Circus at the first Academy Awards dinner, he didn't even bother to show up to collect it.



Shades of Woody Allen.....? So are all the actual negatives in Switzerland now?




#7 of 7 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 29 2011 - 11:38 PM

As we all know, Charlie Chaplin started out making shorts. Some of them are very short--about 6-7 minutes long, which I think was maybe the model for the length of later cartoons. By 1916-1917, some of his shorts were becoming mini epics, with much more elaborate set ups and lengths as long as 30 minutes. In 1918 he produced two quite elaborate and lengthy films, A Dog's Life and Shoulder Arms, which started to get close to being feature films. His first true feature was the brilliant The Kid. I haven't seen The Pilgrim, which is another feature made in the early 20s.
 
I'd grade his films I've seen (and many of them I have to admit I haven't seen in many years) like this--A Dog's Life: A-; Shoulder Arms: A- The Kid: A; Woman of Paris: B+; Gold Rush: A+; The Circus: A; City Lights: A+; Modern Times: A; Great Dictator: B+; Monsieur Verdoux: C+
 
I think his quality started to fall off even with The Great Dictator. As brilliant as parts of it are, and as much as I appreciate the critique of Hitler and Mussolini, I think it was a significant fall off from the brilliance of Modern Times. I understand that with Monsieur Verdoux he was going for something different, but when I tried to watch it 20 years ago I thought the film was weak compared to his earlier work.
How many of these is Criterion doing? Is that known? Anyone else willing to throw their hats in the ring with their quick grades on these, even on the shorts? Has anyone seen The Pilgrim?
 
 
A Dog's Life -  1918, 40 minutes Shoulder Arms -  1918, 46 minutes
The Kid -  1921, 68 minutes The Pilgrim -  1923, 59 minutes  
A Woman of Paris - 1923, 93 minutes The Gold Rush -  1925, 96 minutes The Circus -  1928, 70 minutes City Lights -  1931, 87 minutes Modern Times - 1936, 87 minutes The Great Dictator -  1940, 124 minutes Monsieur Verdoux - 1947, 124 minutes





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