Chaplin Mutuals, 90th Anniversary Edition R1 June 6th

Discussion in 'DVD' started by oscar_merkx, May 22, 2006.

  1. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I found the following from Brian PB's massive thread which I thought deserves its own thread.

     
  2. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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  3. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I haven't thought of the Chaplin short films in a long time, so I don't remember the answer to this: is this the entirety of the Mutual shorts, or is the prior release still relevant?
     
  4. Sammy-G

    Sammy-G Stunt Coordinator

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    So I guess this makes it a quadruple dip on the Mutuals for me. Only for Charlie...

    1 - Cheap, nigh unwatchable PD discs
    2 - Original Image discs in snappers
    3 - Image reissues in keepcases in the large boxed set because I hadn't purchased the Essanays and also wanted Chaplin's Goliath doc
    4 - BFI restoration.

    That's pretty sick, now that I think about it.

    Though I'm looking forward to the extra bits of footage added into them and The Gentleman Tramp, the main selling point for me is the Carl Davis music. Watching a Mutual short with his music is like watching an entirely different film.
     
  5. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    These will be even more complete than the R2 editions in some cases. For instance, THE RINK will be mastered from a more complete print than any other previous release, including the R2. But there will likely still be bits missing from the films; I've compiled a massive list of such bits missing from various home video releases over the years, which I will post soon, if anyone is interested.
     
  6. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    There are some missing pieces here and there, but you can only do so much once the music tracks are laid down.

    These are, IMHO, the best that you're going to get anytime soon short of HD remasters.
     
  7. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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  8. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Cheers for the reminder.

    I did not remember that I replied to that thread.

    Might as well close this one
     
  9. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    I'm looking forward to these, having not purchased any of these or the Essanays before.

    Doe the Essanay collection than make the chaplin shorts pretty much complete? (Not counting bit parts and such, I'm presuming that the Mutual and Essanay films have Chaplin as a key creative force.)
     
  10. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    ONE A.M. is the same complete print as the BFI R2. I'll ask a friend of mine about the titles...he's a Chaplin Mutuals expert. And by the way, here's that list of Mutuals Missing Bits I mentioned earlier...

    _____________________________________________

    And now, to depress all you hardcore Chaplin fans, here's my updated documentation of the Mutuals, outlining bits missing from various releases and also the ownership history (all info was gleaned and distilled from various posts at the Chaplin newsgroup, as well as my own few observations):

    __________________________________________


    So, I thought that, with the help of knowledgeable Chaplin film enthusiasts and collectors such as Doug Sulpy and Connie Kuriyama, we could perhaps hammer out a master list of shots and intertitles missing from the Image Mutual DVDs, as well as alternate shots, takes, and camera angles that have turned up. The new R2 DVD of the Mutuals from BFI has restored at least a few bits, and these have been noted. The upcoming re-release of the Mutuals by Image promises to have restored even more footage. Here's what I've got so far, paraphrased from what I've read at the newsgroups alt.movies.chaplin and alt.movies.silent, and from what Doug has told me (please feel free to chime in with additions/corrections):

    EASY STREET – “The Lost Sheep” should be the first intertitle of the film, while the intertitle used in that place in the DVD version and most other prints, “A New Beginning”, should occur when Charlie’s in the mission and decides to go straight. Missing close-ups (three different shots I think) of Eric being gassed. An intertitle that says “GAS!” is missing from many prints, but was restored for the remastered LD set and the Image DVD, and is also present in the new BFI DVD. (Close-up of Eric being gassed is different in European prints.) Also missing is a gag shortly following this, where Charlie tromps on Eric’s stomach as he steps around him to use the phone (only the Kodascope prints seem to retain this footage). Also missing is a second shot of the police chief waving goodbye as he walks away at the end of the first reel. Reel 2 (which begins right after Charlie is knocked over by the exploding gas pipe) should begin with a scene where Edna comes out of the mission with the parson and his assistant, and starts off on her “errand of mercy”; this scene is missing in the DVD version. Also missing is a shot where Eric arrives at his house after escaping from the police station only to have the doormat stick to his feet – he kicks it off, only to knock a hole in the wall before going upstairs and engaging in the battle with his wife. (Note: the new BFI DVD restores one tight medium close-up of Eric’s gassing.)

    BEHIND THE SCREEN – The opening title card which says “Applying for work at the moving picture studio” is missing, as well as the entire opening bit with Edna going up to a guy with a clipboard, straightening her clothes, then it cuts in for a bit closer shot, and then the intertitle "Can I be an actress, please?”. This footage is present and accounted for in the Republic Video VHS and laserdisc version, and also the remastered laserdisc set restored by David Shepard. Why it isn’t in the Image DVD I have no clue. (Note: the new BFI DVD restores all of this material, possibly from alternate takes than the Republic and Shepard versions.)

    THE FLOORWALKER – The Image DVD is missing footage of Eric chasing Charlie down the escalator. Also missing is an important shot regarding a note read by Eric, which helps explain the plot; it reads:

    Mr. George Brush,

    General Manager of the Big Store,

    Dear Sir: Discovered $80,000 shortage in your accounts. Sending detectives to investigate.

    M. Lowenstein


    The intertitle that reads “They are on our trail; let’s grab it and go!” originally read “They are on our trail; let’s grab it all!” The intertitle that reads “Spondulicks forever” shouldn’t be there at all. There also exists an alternate shot of the mannequin arresting Charlie.

    But wait, there’s more…from an alt.movies.silent newsgroup post by Doug Sulpy:

    “Insofar as cuts to the Mutuals are concerned, I've spoken to someone who's seen several minutes in "The Floorwalker" that are not in any circulating print…”

    And from an email to me from Doug regarding these extra minutes:

    “This is stuff in addition to the missing note and the extra escalator scene, a couple of more minutes, but I don't really know about the content, except he said there was more in the beginning (which makes sense, as it does seem to begin somewhat in progress.”

    What could these missing minutes be? Details soon!

    THE RINK – The opening intertitle, “Papa and his daughter Edna”, is missing from the Image DVD. This intertitle is present and accounted for in the Republic Video VHS and laserdisc version. The opening panning shot of Edna has an annoying jump cut in most prints and video versions, but it’s complete and smooth in the old Blackhawk Super 8mm prints. There's a part in the earlier half of the film where Charlie and the other waiter are fighting in the kitchen. If you pay attention to most any version of the film, you may notice two quick splices during this scene. During their fight, the cook (Albert Austin) throws some food their way, and Charlie briefly stops the fight to catch the food on a plate. In the scene where Charlie stops at a table before going into the kitchen to mix a drink, there’s a jump cut. Missing here is an intertitle where people order cocktails, giving Charlie a reason to mix the drink. Also, there’s quite a bit missing from the end; the last shot you see in the DVD version is of Eric and crew chasing after Charlie, then THE END title card. Missing are the following shots: the crowd falls down in the road, Charlie tips his hat and smiles, and then falls off the car. The Republic VHS and laserdisc version fades out while Charlie is tipping his hat and smiling. Only the Kodascope prints seem to contain the complete ending, with Charlie falling off the car. In the old Blackhawk Super 8mm prints, the shot of Charlie shooing Edna off the rink (right before the long shot where he and Eric Campbell bounce off each other’s stomachs) is a different take than the Republic, Image, and BFI versions. (Note: the new BFI DVD release restores all missing bits detailed here except the ending, which is unfortunately the same as the old Image DVD. The upcoming Image DVD release of the Mutuals will reportedly use an original 1916 print, never used for any previous video release, which will hopefully be complete at last.)

    THE PAWNSHOP – The first shot you should see in the film is the pawn shop proprietor pacing in FRONT of the counter, waiting for Charlie, followed by the usual scene with Edna making a pie, followed by a similar scene of the pawn shop proprietor pacing BEHIND the counter. The shot of the proprietor pacing in front of the counter is missing from the Image DVD and most other video versions.

    Also, the sequence in which Charlie demolishes Albert Austin's clock has been mistaken to consist of only one take. But there is one obvious shift in camera angle, marked by a close up insert of Austin gaping, which allows us to see the clock's innards writhing on the counter. There is also another, subtler shift in camera position while Charlie opens the clock with a can opener, and that one was once covered by a close up of Charlie's hands manipulating the clock. This shot appears to be missing from the versions available on the various home video formats, but is intact in the old Standard 8mm Blackhawk prints (not the Super 8mm prints). If you look closely at the video prints you can see a jump cut where it once was.

    THE FIREMAN – There's a shot missing from the DVD and other video versions of Charlie and Leo White sitting on the end of the fire engine yelling FIRE to each other.

    THE CURE – Several shots have recently turned up in a British 9.5mm print that are not in any of the video releases.

    From a post by Richard Ward at alt.movies.chaplin:

    “I recently got a British Pathescope 9.5mm print of "The Cure" (under the title "The Water Cure"). While it is a one-reel abridgement of the original, it has several shots that I didn't remember seeing before, including one of Eric Campbell nursing a hangover on the "Morning After." Every copy I have ever seen loses Campbell after he goes into the spring. Is this shot in any of the current video releases?”

    And from an email to me, also from Richard Ward:

    “The other "new" shots in my print of "The Cure" are a couple of curious cutaways of a crowd outside of the spa reacting to the action around the spring, a fairly long take of the three judgmental ladies each getting up and individually staggering toward the spa building after imbibing, and a shot of Henry Bergman sort of rolling the contortionist from side to side on the massage table.”

    ONE A.M. – Quite a bit of footage is missing from available video versions of this one; some of this footage is contained in the old silent Blackhawk 16mm prints (the sound prints are from the Van Beuren negatives, which don’t have it), and some has turned up in TV prints which were sourced from a print that was at one time located in the National Film Archive, London. The additional scenes in the NFA print are spliced into it from material of other origin and are of inferior quality than the rest, which has understandably led some fans to believe that this extra material was merely outtakes. Luckily, David Shepard has acquired a complete non-spliced original 35mm print with English intertitles from circa 1919, which contains all of this extra footage, apparently proving that it was part of the film all along.

    The following bits are missing from the first part of the film as represented in the Image DVD, as well as most prints:

    1. The opening moments where Charlie first pulls up the taxi are edited - the DVD includes a bit of this.

    2. A medium shot of the following action: reaching out through the taxi door, Charlie tries to open the handle on the wrong side of the door. He then leans against the doorframe, and finally discovers the real location of the handle.

    3. After putting out the cigarette in Albert's hand, Charlie pays him, gets his coat caught in the doorway, and tries to pry his way out of the taxi by putting his foot on the tire. Finally, he falls on the ground, gets up and walks toward the house (only the final moments where he walks toward the house are on the DVD).

    4. Brief close-up of Charlie staring at the stuffed cat (there's a jump in the DVD where this should be).

    5. Much more footage of Charlie chasing the bottle around the table.

    And now, the stair climbing begins, and things get complicated…

    For the correct original continuity, we’ll start here: Charlie flips his hat onto the emu's head, gets his foot stuck in the stuffed cat, kicks it loose, falls down, close-up reaction shot of Charlie, he gets up, and says "Good Night". At this point, the DVD cuts. The silent Blackhawk print, however, includes the next shot... Charlie tries to go up the stairs, looks back, and then slides backwards down the stairs face first.

    Cut back to DVD for next climb...

    Charlie tries to go up again, but goes backwards down the stairs instead. He goes over to the table, pours a drink, tries to drink it, falls down, gets up, lights a match on his shoe, goes to ascend the left stairs again.

    DVD cuts again.

    The silent Blackhawk print continues the shot of his climb... slides down the railing.... Starts to pour another drink while laying on the ground...

    At this point, the NFA version picks up... Charlie gets up, wobbles towards camera drunkenly... tries to make it to bottom of stairs, but acts like he's walking underwater. Walks up the stairs, leaning backwards at an impossible angle... falls backwards on face again. Tries again, and makes it all the way to the top before tumbling backwards down. At bottom, lights another cigarette and notices Alpine climbing gear on wall to his right (our left). Straps on backpack, puts on hat, and picks up a pick and long climbing stick. Using the pick on the railings of the staircase, pulls himself up the stairs. At the top, however, somersaults backwards down again. (Missing intertitle here: “If I could yodel, I could make it”.) Tosses off the climbing gear, approaches step again...

    Cut back to DVD. Camera is now at a different angle. Charlie ascends the left stairs, and now there's a black object on the left side of the third stair from the top that wasn't there before the jump cut, which is the Alpine hat. The pendulum knocks him back down the left stairs (and that hat along with him). A close-up of Charlie straightening his nose. (Missing intertitle here: “I must try another route”) Charlie slides the rug across the floor to the right, climbs the right stairs, is frightened by the bear, descends the stairs, and glides the rug across the floor to the left until he hits the table. There's a close-up of Charlie while he searches his jacket for a match, then he gets up on the table, crawls at first while the table spins, then stands up and runs for a few seconds, there's a close-up (the DVD is missing a good chunk of the running on the table gag here), then Charlie falls off the table. (Note: the reason he’s running on the table is that he’s trying to light his cigarette from the gas light hanging from the ceiling, which is cropped off the top of the frame in many prints. So, he did have a motive for that after all!) Another close-up, then Charlie ascends the left stairs once more, grabs the top of the carpet, it comes loose, and he rolls down the left stairs inside the carpet.

    The DVD also fades a bit early at the end of the film, cutting out the moments where Charlie finally puts his head down and goes to sleep and the final fade.

    (Note: the new BFI DVD uses David Shepard’s complete print of ONE A.M., and reportedly so will the upcoming Image DVD.)

    THE VAGABOND – This one is also complicated. There are a couple differently edited versions of this one about. From an AMC post by Doug Sulpy:

    "Okay... I'm picky, but I just spent a couple of hours comparing "Vagabonds" and I'm more confused than when I started.

    At first glance, the latest incarnation (on the 2nd edition of the laser "Mutual" box, and presumably on the DVD) would appear to nail it... but... no.

    In comparing this version to the Blackhawk super 8 film, I noticed many differences, particularly in the beginning of the film. One of the most important is that on the 8mm you CAN see a substantial amount to the left of the saloon set (where much action takes place). This is window-boxed on the laser, presumably to get in as much image as possible, but the film version still shows much more... why?

    The 8mm has a cutaway shot to the bar crowd that's missing from the laser entirely, and an alternate shot of the band playing as Charlie's collecting "their" money. In addition, there's a splice during the shot where Charlie finally outruns the crowd in the bar and stops outside long enough to flash us one of his patented Chaplin smiles. EVERY version I checked except the 8mm has the splice at this point...
    So, this would make sense if the latest "Vagabond" simply used the same material that the previous Van Beuren re-issues used (I have this on the Republic laser, and also on the Chaplin Lost And Found Mutuals, which are the same print with minor subtitle differences). But they DIDN'T because the latest "Vagabond" DOES have shots missing from all other prints except the 8mm (the iris in on Edna, the "mother" scene in the right place). So it seems they used some of the more complete print, but not all of it (now why on God's green earth would they do THAT?).

    While I'm at it, I guess I should point out that the latest "Vagabond" on laser has an entirely different shot of Charlie walking down the road. On the latest laser (and 8mm) he simply walks down the road and turns left. On the earlier lasers we have a different take where he picks up a handful of dirt, throws it in the air, and walks against the wind.

    In addition, there's also evidently a different introductory shot of the mother and her friend. The 8mm pans on this shot without stopping, while every other print begins with the camera stationary. In addition, Charlie's final nose-thumb to the bar crowd shot fades on every version but the 8mm, where it continues until he's left the frame, then cuts.

    Finally, I wonder if there's an entire sequence that Charlie edited out of the film. Near the end there's a very, very brief shot of him collecting eggs from a farmwoman. Granted, this could simply serve the purpose of communicating "Charlie's off getting eggs while Edna's being rescued from a life of tub-scrubbing"... but if you look at it carefully, you can see that Chaplin's grinning ear-to-ear as the shot cuts in, then looks back at the woman. It seems to me that SOMETHING was going on here dealing with Charlie and the egg acquisition...

    And anyone else ever notice the Falstaff Beer sign on the bar door has fallen off by the end of the scene?"

    THE IMMIGRANT – Some extra juicy vomiting footage is missing from most extant prints; this footage is reported to have appeared in a version broadcast on Japanese TV a few years ago, as well as a print broadcast by the BBC. One intertitle is also missing from the Image DVD, and one intertitle has been misplaced. From an AMC post by Doug Sulpy:

    “The copyright material from July 5th, 1917 describes the film in depth, and contains some material that does not seem to exist in any extant prints. Specifically, lots more vomiting. After Charlie's first encounter with Albert Austin (the sick Russian), it says:

    ’... the little fellow beat(s) a hasty retreat and runs for "clearer weather" over to the starboard side. Here there is another "storm" threatening, for an ambitious youth who insisted on a second service of pork unfurls the white flag to a gigantic wave and with his mother's assistance he manages to empty the contents of his anatomy in a series of volcanic spasms, but in such a manner as to again cause much annoyance to Charlie, who suffers little damage other than a few stray bits which nestle on his derby while he is artfully dodging. Scarcely has he taken himself from the path of the seasick youth, then he is again confronted by the Russian who seems bent on arousing Charlie's ire by divulging an additional batch of the secrets of his stomach.’

    YUCK! ... Anyway... it's at this point that Charlie sits down, as Austin sits next to him, and the film continues in familiar territory.

    Some other possible differences occur after the dining room scene, where, after Charlie looks back at Edna and gets seasick himself, it says: ‘... necessitating a hasty grip on his mouth and a dash to the railing outside. Once more he wards off the storm and he happily
    shuffles along to survey the boat.’ -- In the available prints, it cuts to the ‘More Rolling’ intertitle right after Charlie gets seasick and covers his mouth.

    It sounds like there may have been a bit more before the start of the card game as well, but that's hard to tell.”

    In addition, the Image DVD is missing at least one intertitle ("The Widow and Her Daughter"); the opening continuity of the film should be as follows:

    Title Card
    Shot of the ship (which seems to be truncated in most prints...perhaps this shot will be longer in the BFI DVD version)
    Shot of the steerage deck (crowd shot)
    Title: The Widow and Her Daughter
    Shot of Edna and her mother
    First shot of Charlie...

    Also, the intertitle "I'll Engage You Both Tomorrow" is in the wrong spot (it should be earlier, when Henry Bergman's talking to them at the table).”

    From another AMC post by Doug Sulpy:

    “(Glenn) Mitchell describes the very same missing shots, says they're missing from most prints, but were included in the ‘Chaplin SuperClown’ BBC series print.”

    Raoul Sobel and David Francis also apparently reference this footage in their 1977 book “Chaplin: Genesis Of A Clown”.

    And from yet another AMC post by Doug Sulpy:

    “Since it does nothing around here but snow, day in and day out, I've had a chance to compare (perhaps a little TOO closely!) various prints of "The Immigrant" - what I'll call the DVD version (from Image), a European print (commercially unavailable, as far as I know), and a Kodascope reissue (from 1926 - almost, but not quite identical to the
    DVD version).

    Sadly, "The Immigrant" (and probably the other Mutuals as well) had already been trimmed by the early 1920's, when they were issued by the Clark-Cornelius Corporation. What is obvious is that someone was given orders to go through the film and cut out every frame they possibly could without altering the basic action. Thus, almost every transition shot in "The Immigrant" has been cut. The characters once walked from place to place - now they jump. This is not altogether harmless – in at least one instance, it omits a gag entirely, involving Frank J. Coleman and Loyal Underwood. The gag between Frank and Loyal occurs when Frank storms away from the card game (on his way to rob Edna's mother). Loyal is bending over to tie his shoe, and Frank kicks him in the ass and sends him sprawling as he passes. After robbing Edna's mother, Frank heads back the same way; Loyal sees him and dives headfirst into the vent pipe (???). Other missing footage (besides the additional vomiting scene at the beginning) includes moments like Charlie checking the bottom of his shoe after tripping on the coin, or laughing at Eric Campbell behind his back, only to turn stone faced when Campbell turns back to glare at him. As I mentioned in another thread, there are occasionally different takes between the European and DVD versions as well - most notably Charlie and Edna meeting in the restaurant, and the group of passengers watching the Statue of Liberty. There are also some instances of different camera angles of the same performance. This goes for the Kodascope as well - which has differences from both the DVD and European prints, and includes one brief shot that isn't found in either: a medium shot of Charlie leaning against the ship's rail, after having just gotten up from the ground after the "seasick" scene with Albert Austin. The last part of the previous shot - showing the two of them getting up off the ground after the mess call is missing from the DVD as well (this is also on the Kodascope).

    The intertitles didn't escape unscathed, either. According to the copyright material, "He was ten cents short" should really be "He was short ten cents", "I'll engage you both now, starting tomorrow" should really be "I'll engage you both tomorrow," and Henry Bergman's request for his check shouldn't be there at all. Nit-picking, I know, but the film has been restored enough times that you think someone would have got it right.”

    Apparently, the European print Doug is referencing contains all of the cut footage.

    Update: I’ve seen Doug’s restoration of THE IMMIGRANT, with the missing material described here painstakingly put back from various sources, the intertitles recreated in the proper original Mutual style (which is apparently beyond the capability of the powers-that-be who keep officially restoring the Mutuals), and it’s an even better film than it was.

    MISCELLANEOUS ALTERNATE SHOTS (from a AMC post by Doug Sulpy):

    "In "The Floorwalker" there are different versions of the scene where the mannequin's arm falls on Charlie's shoulder, and he thinks he's been arrested. One is a medium shot, and one is a long shot.

    In "The Vagabond," there are two different versions of the shot where Charlie's walking down the dirt road, right before he enters the gypsy camp. One of them has a small bit of business the other doesn't.

    In "The Count," there's a shot during the final chase where Charlie kicks a policeman in the stomach. In "The Funniest Man In The World" the shot is different than in any other source I've seen - strangely, the commonly available sources have a version of the shot that one would assume Charlie WOULDN'T use, because he obviously misses kicking the guy in the stomach.

    Those are the only three alternate shots that come to mind, although some instances of the many cases where shots are in one print but not another could also be attributed to the difference between the A and B negatives."
     
  11. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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    Amazing scholarship, Jeffrey Nelson! I'm going to print this out and refer to it as I watch the new releases --- Bravo and thanks for providing this informative summary.

    http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/
     
  12. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Yes I absolutely agree with you there.

    I will be doing the very same thing and enjoy watching the Mutuals
     

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