A First Rate Collection
Mr Peter G George | Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom | 04/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A First National Collection is a wonderful DVD. It includes six films made between 1918 and 1923 all of which are very funny indeed. These films show Chaplin's development towards the longer format of feature films and thus form a transitional period in his career. He would go on to make some great features, including City Lights, Modern Times and The Gold Rush, but the films he made at First National are the peak of his output of shorter films. The films included in this collection are brilliantly clear. The restoration work cannot be praised highly enough. Of the six only The Pilgrim shows some slight damage and this damage is so minimal that it is not at all distracting. This DVD is really great value for the films themselves run 198 minutes and in addition there is over twenty minutes of bonus material. This extra material includes a very sophisticated `home movie' called Nice and Friendly which is of interest primarily because it stars a twenty-year-old Louis Mountbatten, who was Queen Victoria's great-grandson, and an important figure in the British royal family. There is also a short film of a tour by a General Leonard Wood on the set of Sunnyside. The General looks rather embarrassed. Finally, and best of all, there is some unused footage from Shoulder Arms showing Chaplin prior to joining the army and explaining why he does so to avoid his nagging wife. Fans of Chaplin will not be disappointed by this Image DVD and for those who are looking to discover more about the little tramp and why he was so popular this is a good starting point."
Chaplin in Transition
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/24/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With the exception of "A Dog's Life" (1918) and "The Kid" (1921), this DVD includes all of Charlie Chaplin's work for First National during 1918-23. Since the prints are from Chaplin's archives, the quality is excellent, with all films projected at the proper speed. Though "Sunnyside" (1919) and "A Day's Pleasure" (1919) are among the comedian's weaker efforts, the First National DVD contains much of Chaplin at his best. "Shoulder Arms" (1918) and "The Pilgrim" (1923) represent the high-water mark of this collection - both featurettes comparing favorably to Chaplin's groundbreaking work for Mutual. The Little Tramp's final shorts, "The Idle Class" (1921) and "Pay Day" (1922), are well worth having and display a stylish advance in cinematic technique. Admittedly, the Chaplin First Nationals do not equal the sustained brilliance of the Mutual period, but they remain a fascinating chronicle of his transition from shorts to features."
A great collection of shorts
B. Beckwith | 01/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of Chaplin, chances are you will like this DVD. If you aren't familiar with Chaplin, this is a great collection to get started with.This DVD collects Shoulder Arms, Sunnyside, A Day's Pleasure, The Idle Class, Pay Day, and The Pilgrim; all of which are excellent short films. The first four films feature The Little Tramp, Chaplin's best known character. Pay Day and The Pilgrim feature Chaplin as a humble working man and an escaped convict, respectively.Special features on the DVD include a short "home movie" entitled Nice and Friendly, some unused footage from Shoulder Arms, music credits, and some footage of General Leonard Wood on the set of Sunnyside. The footage of General Leonard Wood is probably my favorite part of the DVD, simply because it shows Chaplin, out of character, giving the general a tour. I sometimes forget that Chaplin was an actor and not really The Little Tramp and it is amazing to see how easily he could slip into character.I'm not a real videophile, so I'm not all that picky about video quality (if I can see it I'm happy), but I can say that all of the shorts on this DVD are very clear. The sound is good too (not that it really matters since these are silent films, though the music does create atmosphere). The only thing that annoys me about this DVD is the simple navigation system; it doesn't have the nice kind of menus I am used to with most DVDs. However, the content of the DVD is good enough that I can overlook the clunky navigation.The bottom line: A great collection!"