Superb restoration of some of Chaplin's most important work!
Mark Pollock | Davis, CA United States | 03/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, I am reviewing the Image dvd of Chaplin's Essanay Comedies, Vol. 02. The Madacy product that this review might appear on is grossly inferior to this edition, and is to be shunned with all your might.We have here five Chaplin films and a guest appearance. The guest appearance is forgettable, as is the rest of the movie that the appearance is in. Two of these films are Chaplin treading water, "By the Sea" and "A Woman". "A Woman" is only important for trivial reasons, because Chaplin makes his last appearance in drag, with astonishing results. The other films, though, are key to the Chaplin legacy. "Work" is his most political statement yet, with it's condemnation of bosses and managers via Charlie's boss, who sits in the back of a cart while Charlie draws it forwardthrough streets and up impossible hills. This film is so ridiculous that you wonder how on earth it came together to fit so well."The Bank" is important in that we have a truly sad ending, with Charlie's unrequited love rejected twice, and reasons for his hopes to get up twice too. "The Tramp" is Charlie's most important Essanay film, the one that establishes his tramp as a character with depth. This film is more than a collection of gags, it's a story, and the ending is a shock. Chaplin would later learn how to engender his audience's sympathies before the end of the film, but in this film, we cannot help but feel sorry for the tramp, as he walks out of the picture in one of his most famous scenes ever.These films were painstakingly restored by David Sheperd's "Film Preservation Associates" after a ten-year search for footage. What we have is the most complete versions of the Chaplin Essanay films possible, something that hasn't been seen in almost 80 years. This means, however, that sometimes the scene in a film will change dramatically, from a clear, good print to a worse, grainy, and scratchy print, and back again. But we must put up with such defects if we expect to enjoy these films at all, for the alternative is to see prints which, while consistent, are missing somtimes 20% of the footage originally in the filmThe scores are well done, and the video compression is excellent. And now for the rant, hinted at above...It is possible to see these same films in a much cheaper edition from Madacy or Koch video, or numerous other companies. Don't do it. These companies have taken poor quality sources, sometimes cutting out a fifth of the frame, added lousy soundtracks, and thrown their product out in nice looking packaging for low prices. This product is unsatisfactory, though, as it is difficult to watch, and really doesn't show Chaplin in a good light. Do search out dvds made by the Image company, or tapes made by Kino, becuase these companies have the restorations that are worth watching. You will be glad you did!"
Chaplin's Essanay Comedies Vol. 1,2, and 3
Warren H. Jones | Little Rock, AR United States | 06/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the long awaited "restored" version of Charlie Chaplin's Essanay comedies. Unfortunately when I say "restored," I mean to the best quality possible; Chaplin himself had the original negatives incinerated when he moved from California to Europe in the early 1950's. He was unable to have all of his work shipped over seas. This was the case for both the Essanay films and the Mutual Films. The First National films as well as his feature films were the ones that he kept. When they restored the Essanay and the Mutual films, they tried to find the earliest prints in the best condition that were still available. This means that some films or parts of films will be in better condition than others. In the case of the Mutual films alternate takes were used in the film restoration process (a Chaplin employee had kept footage that was supposed to be thrown away). Even though extra footage doesn't exist for the Essanay comedies, the "Chaplin's Essanay Comedies Vol. 1, 2, and 3" on DVD (manufactured through Image Entertainment) are probably the highest quality that you will ever see for these films. They were restored through David Shepard's company "Film Preservation Associates," who restored the Chaplin Mutual films (available on DVD from Image Entertainment in three volumes) several years ago. Also, they created new musical scores by Robert Israel and Eric James which fit the tone of each of the films in the collection. It's amazing that these films still survive in as good a condition as they are in.For the films themselves, this is classic comedy at its finest. Both "The Tramp" and "A Burlesque on `Carmen' " are among my favorite Chaplin films. But, all of these films still maintain their entertainment value even after 86 years. You won't be able to sit through one without laughing at the predicaments that Charlie gets himself into and then gets himself out of."
Edward, Rebecca Luhm | Northern Wyoming, WY. | 03/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am only a teenager and like most boys my age I love toilet humor.
So when my Social Studies teacher said we will be watching some Charlie Chaplin videos I was a little closed minded like everyone else.
The video we watched was Work, and just after about 5 minites of watching I was a Chaplin fan. The gags in the short little flim are ever bit as fun and funny as the day they were released. Some of my classmates just fell asleep, because they're too closed minded, but I would still recomened this stuff to any person young and old. He will give an ear to ear grin on the front of your melon. Chaplin rules."
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 06/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I love Charles S. Chaplin. In the sixties, TV sets were not so common as they are today and the only way for me to see films then was to be invited to go to the movies or to attend the weekly movie of the school's cine-club. Fortunately, our teacher had a good taste and I had the luck to discover Buster Keaton, Harry Langdon, Charles Chaplin and many others during this period. OK ! It was Nostalgy time and it's over.The overall quality of Madacy's CHAPLIN #2 shows a little improvement in comparison with the #1 that was one of the worst DVDs I have seen in the streets. Not that Madacy has suddenly decided to clean the copies but because I suppose that the available copies were simply in a better shape. It's always under-average quality but let's rejoice anyway ! Furthermore, the music is rather agreeable this time. At last, the program presented here is very interesting and cannot be compared with the three shorts presented in the first volume.CHARLIE'S RECREATION (1914) allows us to see Chaplin before the tramp disguise and creation that will make a star from him. But it's WORK (1915) that, alone, justifies the US$ 7 you will have to pay for the DVD. One of the first masterpieces of the genius.A DVD for the archeologists ones."