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American Slapstick (1918)

Charles Chaplin , Edna Purviance , Charles Chaplin  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Fritz Schade, Alice Howell, Slim Summerville
  • Directors: Charles Chaplin
  • Writers: Charles Chaplin
  • Producers: Charles Chaplin, Mack Sennett
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Silent, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 280 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I2J6ZA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,264 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "American Slapstick" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 17 new-to-DVD shorts on three discs
  • Super secret bonus short
  • Audio commentary on the 1915 short "A Submarine Pirate"
  • PDF reproduction of 1915 Charlie Chaplin promotional materials (DVD-ROM)

Editorial Reviews

Irreverent, anarchic, and truly American! These are the silent comedians: immigrants, outcasts and hard-up outsiders who personified the American Dream, becoming movie stars, heroes, icons. And here are their films! If you're looking for subtlety and refinement, drop this disc and run away. Inside, expect to find: exploding cars, innocent bystanders smacked in the head with hammers, underwear models chased by cross-dressing villains, auctioneers crawling across airplane wings to retrieve false teeth, memory-impaired lovers, somnambulists, drunken reprobates, deranged acrobats, and the Keystone Kops.

17 new-to-DVD silent comedy classics and archival rarities! The first film directed by Charlie Chaplin! The best film by his brother Syd--never before on home video, never on TV, never seen before now! Early screen appearances by Harold Lloyd and Stan Laurel! Billy West, The Cubic-Chaplin-Zirconia of silent film, running amok with Oliver Hardy! Landmark shorts by such comedians as Charley Chase, Snub Pollard, Billy Bevan, and Larry Semon! Sexy comedienne Frances Lee chasing her stolen nightie! PDF reprint of original 1915 Chaplin promotional book!


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
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I want to give this set five stars, but I can not since the films were not restored, and have been mastered from 16mm instead of 35mm films. If a Rank 16mm Film to Video system was used, the transfer would have been better. However, except for the first Chaplin film, all are sharp enough and very watch-able.

The stars of this DVD are on the first and third disc while the second disc is mainly obscure comedians. With few exceptions I have found the comedies truly enjoyable.

The DVD cover boasts there are 17 comedies that have never been released to DVD before, but I know of three titles that have been on DVD for quite a while.
1) Charlie Chaplin's "LAUGHING GAS" has been released on LaserLight's "ESSENTIAL CHAPLIN COLLECTION" for years, but this copy is much sharper with nicer contrast. So the upgrade is worth it, however I understand that David Sheppard is busy restoring the Chaplin Keystone Comedies so this upgrade may be out done.
2) Stan Laurel's "SMITHY" has been on at least two Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy Alone DVD releases, one from Alpha Video and another from Passport. In both cases this copy is superior with better contrast.
3) Larry Semon & Oliver Hardy comedy "GOLF" has been released on the Passport Stan Laurel or Oliver Hardy collection, but again this copy is better.

The new music is nice, but I have heard more lively performances to the Chaplin films here that seemed to suit the style of the comedies better. It may just be a matter of taste.

The COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT: (these are rather minor)
The letters "RCDVD" pop up in yellow at the bottom right corner of the picture from time to time to try to copyright these public domain films.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Batch Of Curios. November 23, 2006
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I must admit that I was reluctant to buy this set thinking "Oh no, not another batch of slapstick comedies" but being the silent film completist that I am I purchased it. Although I'm glad I did, this set is primarily for hardcore silent film afficionados like myself. While there are a couple of offerings from Chaplin and Lloyd and single comedies from Charley Chase and Stan Laurel, the bulk of this 3 DVD set is devoted to lesser known comedians and in a couple of instances truly obscure ones. This would probably make AMERICAN SLAPSTICK of little interest to the public at large.

All of the films included here are taken from 16mm source materials and while many of the prints are in very good condition, they are not up to the standards set by earlier collections from Kino and Image Entertainment although this title is being distributed by Image. For the serious collector that is more than offset by the raritiy of some of the comedies in this collection. Do the names Eddie Boland, Perry Murdock or Frances Lee ring a bell? There are also complete versions of frequently excerpted shorts such as Larry Semon's GOLF (1922) and the Ton Of Fun's HEAVY LOVE (1926). The Snub Pollard starring vehicle SOLD AT AUCTION (1923) is one of the more amazing silent offerings I've ever seen complete with an astonishing array of imaginative camera tricks. The set is worth it for this comedy alone although Billy Bevan's LIZZIES OF THE FIELD (great title!) from 1924 is not far behind.

Final assessment: AMERICAN SLAPSTICK features an interesting batch of curios from long forgotten or up and coming comedians in mostly good condition with suitable musical accompaniment provided by three different performers. A must for diehard fans of silent comedy but not the ideal set to start off with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three or Four Classics and a Host of Curios November 1, 2012
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I think the whole DVD set is worth the cost just for three films: Larry Semon's "GOLF", Bevan's "LIZZIE'S OF THE FIELD", and Snub Pollard's "SOLD AT AUCTION". There are other entertaining films, too, but I recommend buying this even if only for the above three. GOLF is a decent print, and it's not easy to find good prints of Larry Semon films. I greatly enjoy live-action films by cartoonists, with their wild and outrageous imagination running amuck with motion photography; and I have been recently been converted to a fan of Larry Semon's crazed creations. GOLF also has one of Ben Model's best-ever musical accompaniments. There have been times when I started yelling at the screen because Model's music so often just refuses to fit the action, but here he carefully inflects the music to match what's happening in the movie, and the result is first-rate. LIZZIE'S also has its best musical score in this version. It has better image and a better soundtrack than on the recently re-issued "Slapstick Encyclopedia". I say, support All Day and Image Entertainment and buy this. Maybe they will give us more. By the way, check out the All Day Entertainment website.
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