Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Charlie Chaplin Collection|
Actor: Charles Chaplin
Genres: Classics, Comedy
A must-have for any fan or film buff?s library. This definitive collection of 12-DVDs contains 57 of Chaplin?s legendary early films in chronological order?a true historical legacy of the greatest comedian who ever lived. ... more »
Sometimes it's best just to let the past go...
j.wade.g | Atlanta, GA United States | 09/15/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"By this point it ought to be blatantly obvious that the recent reviews are for the 8 disc Sams Club edition for under $20. But, just for the record, that's the copy that I'm reviewing as well.
I can understand the reviewers who give this set praises for being the only available DVD releases of the old Keystone shorts. On certain levels it's comforting to know that some of film history's most important shorts can never truly die, thanks to DVD preservation. However, when the quality is this bad, my opinion is that it's not really worth releasing at any price. If the originals have deteriorated to the point where they are this poor in quality, they simply shouldn't be seen by the average viewer. They certainly shouldn't be sold at a grab bag price to try to rope in as many sales as possible. The lower the price, the more newcomers will see Chaplin (or silent short comedy in general) for the first time in a set like this, and I believe that that does a great disservice to the silent film era. I can't help but feel that most people who buy this set are going to come away from it with a serious loathing of silent film short comedy. The quality destroys any enjoyment that undoubtedly at one time would have been had.
For example, on the first disc, which is obviously the one that most people will watch first, only "Kid Auto Races at Venice" is even remotely close to entertaining. It's quality is high enough that it is still relatively pleasant to watch. The other six shorts on the disc are an absolute disaster... Two of which spend a considerable amount of time with the heads cut off of all the actors due to cropping issues.
The prints are bad. Rarity, for me, is not the issue. These prints are beyond watchable quality even if they are the only ones left. This level of deterioration can only be tolerated by the most ardent fan. And I don't say that lightly. I am a film student who has seen more than his fair share of poor quality prints... These, by and large, have been scraped out of the gutter.
In short, if you absolutely must have the Keystone shorts, feel free to buy this set. But do yourself a favor and watch it with very low expectations. It won't live up to much else...
If, on the other hand, you simply want to see some Chaplin, pick up the Chaplin Collection 2-Disc releases or the Restored Mutual and Essanay shorts from Image.
Respect for the classics is as important as preservation. Cheap releases of shoddy prints does little to please anyone..."
Thirsty | Madison, WI USA | 01/07/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I received this collection (the "Essential Charlie Chaplin Collection" box set from Delta Entertainment) as a gift, watched about five minutes, and returned it right away. It is a cheap public domain set to which no apparent thought or care has been given.
An example: In the middle of "Easy Street," you suddenly hear a break in the music and people talking. Why? Because the producers of this collection just threw any old public domain music onto the soundtrack, in this case an old blues song in which the musicians begin talking and laughing. It's a great song, to be sure, but totally inappropriate and distracting, having nothing to do with the action on-screen and really ruining the experience.
I should add that the prints look terrible.
Save your money."
Mark Pollock | Davis, CA United States | 08/03/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Not another cheapo crummy box set! No No No!!
Okay, so here's what we have -
The Keystone films - Once again, the SAME crummy prints that are used every time. Sadly, only a couple of these are available in any good condition. They are -
TIllie's Punctured Romance and Mabel's Married Life, available on Image's "Tillie's Puctured Romance" dvd. let me put it this way - Tillie on the present set is a 50 minute pile of poorly narrated and terrible condition garbage that is missing a lot of essential scenes. The Image disc has a mostly complete print that is actually quite watchable and - wait for it - actually makes sense! Amazing!
The Knockout and The Rounders - available in the "Forgotten Films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle" set. These look quite nice here. The Rounders is also available in the Slapstick Encyclopedia set, along with a Chaplin fragment unavailable anywhere else.
Okay, that takes care of the films filmed at Keystone. The fact is, if you want to see most of the Keystone films, you might as well get this set or one even cheaper if possible. But there are MUCH better copies of ALL of these films out there, waiting to be released.
AS far as the rest of the material from the Essanay, Mutual, and First National years, this set is nowhere near as good the the Image and M2K releases, and shouldn't even be considered in those cases. In fact, it still remains to be determined if the use of some of these prints is even legal, since they were clearly duplicated from official releases.
There is also a documentary included. Sadly, it's not really about Chaplin, but is a fascinating documentary about how badly somebody can screw up a life story. The information is often false, misleading, or simply a big fat pack of lies. And it's boring. And poorly made. I'm sure talking this one up, aren't I?
If you want a GREAT documentary, try Unknown Chaplin, which is still a knockout 20-odd years later.
Avoid this title, buy all the Image and M2K releases, and then come back to this only when you really MUST see crummy versions of the Keystones. Hopefully soon, we'll have comething better."
The Stirrings of Genius ...
silents are golden | upstate NY | 01/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I claim no more knowledge of Chaplin movies than the average fan. I gave this collection four stars, and I'll give 4 reasons why.
1. i don't think that, considering the fact many of the shorts are roughly between 80-90 years old, it is too much of a stretch to imagine that the image quality is less than stellar. we in the digital age are lucky to have them at all, given the fact that many early movie pioneers (m.sennett included)considered their finished products disposable, to be used until they couldn't be thread into the projector anymore.
2. it's been said that CC's Keystones are only fit for antiquarians and sentimentalists. i disagree. it's in his keystones, that we can see the stirrings of CC's genius. his lack of over acting (excessive mugging/gestures) immediately sets him apart from his contemporaries. chaplin's economy of movement, his deft manipulation of props, and his ability to convey his attitude to the audience with only quick facial expressions,all begin here in his keystone efforts.
3. not only do we get chaplin in this collection, but we also see other great stars of the silent era. mable normand, chester conklin, ben turpin, mack swain, and of course the incomporable edna purviance are just a few of the luminaries contained in these discs. i think you'd be hard pressed to find this much talent in one set.
4. lastly, i don't think i'm alone when i say that to a great degree i find silent movies in general a refreshing alternative to some of today's movie offerings. i'm constantly amazed at how much silents give to their audience, when you consider how little they had to work with, compared to today. and no one was more of a master of that than Charlie Chaplin - don't pass this opportunity up to get so much, for so small a price !"