Independent U.S. distributors Flicker Alley and The Blackhawk Films Collection have released a brand new trailer for their upcoming Blu-ray release of Chaplin's Mutual Comedies. The five-disc Blu-ray/DVD box set, presented for a limited time in a collector's edition SteelBook case, will be available for purchase on July 29th.
The collection features 12 newly restored films (The Floorwalker, The Fireman, The Vagabond, One A.M., The Count, The Pawnshop, Behind the Screen, The Rink, Easy Street, The Cure, The Immigrant, and The Adventurer), all scanned under the aegis of Association Chaplin at a resolution of 2,000 lines from original 35mm prints gathered from archives all over the world, then digitally assembled and restored, a collaborative effort of Lobster Films in Paris and L'Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, Italy.
Each film offers the option of either improvised piano accompaniment or a full orchestral score. Among the many well-known composers and musicians featured are Eric Beheim, Neil Brand, Timothy Brock, Antonio Coppola, Carl Davis, Stephen Horne, Robert Israel, the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Maud Nelissen, Donald Sosin, and Gabriel Thibaudeau.
A 34-page booklet with rare, behind-the-scenes images, and an extensive essay by film historian and author Jeffrey Vance (Chaplin: Genius of Cinema). The home-video premiere of a 52-minute documentary by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange, The Birth of the Tramp, which chronicles Chaplin's rise to stardom in concordance with early cinema's growth from fairground attraction into an international industry. Chaplin's Goliath by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald, which tells the story of Charlie's nemesis Eric Campbell, who achieved screen immortality with his appearances in eleven of these comedies.
I don't like Chaplin's silents, despite their fame. I find them unfunny and naive and very often melodramatic and simplistic. Far from making a social comment I find them mawkish. On the other hand, I love "The Great Dictator" and felt he was at his best here.
But I have to agree with Chaplin's philosophy about man's inhumanity to man; I just think other 'authors' (like Dickens) and artists have demonstrated this far more powerfully than Chaplin ever did. He 'romanticized' deprivation, IMO.
Modern times was very funny. Comedy is based on misery, tragedy, depravation etc etc. Because one is showing it does not mean one is glamorizing it.The world can be crazy and like any comedian he dealt with it.
"Modern Times" is a very good film, yes, particularly the scene when he's dancing and loses his cuff with the lyrics written on it!!
But I disagree about the nature of comedy and its subject matter. I think Chaplin does romanticize poverty and deprivation by showing the cloying images of 'happy, kind and caring peasants'. In short, good = poor, bad = rich, when we know there are many complex shades in between. That somehow there's a nobility in suffering could only be the product of somebody who was himself deprived and came from the workhouse. The face of poverty, in reality, is very ugly indeed.
The collection features 12 newly restored films (The Floorwalker, The Fireman, The Vagabond, One A.M., The Count, The Pawnshop, Behind the Screen, The Rink, Easy Street, The Cure, The Immigrant, and The Adventurer)
I love all the films Chaplin made for Mutual. He said himself it was the happiest time in his career, and it shows in the overall quality of the films. I have the 2 DVD BFI set from several years ago, the picture quality and restoration is very impressive. Also worth seeking out are their DVD sets of his Keystone and Essanay films.