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Becoming Charley Chase
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This may not be the "best of Charley Chase", but it is VERY GOOD! I don't think there is a clinker in the bunch! This is a comprehensive presentation of the early works of Charley Chase (Parrott). His persona starts out raw and refines itself. His unique humor starts to build from short to short. It is interesting to see the slapstick Keystone influence in PEANUTS AND BULLETS, a rather un Charley Chase like short. But that quickly disappears in the very next film presented here, LOVE IN ARMOR. Charley was clearly bucking the trend at Keystone and going more for situational comedy over pie-in-the face humor. His Keystone Comedies seem even more sophisticated than Chaplin's Keystone comedies. They are very story driven.
The King Bee Comedy at the end of disc 1 MARRIED TO ORDER features Oliver Hardy and plays out like a Hal Roach comedy.
The documentary at the end of disc 1 is best watched after viewing all four discs as it makes references to comedies on discs 2, 3 & 4. I found the audio mix poorly done in the documentary. The mood music is overwhelming the interviews, making it hard to hear what they say. I listened to this on two different systems & came up with the same results.
Discs 2 & 3 would take some dedication to get through all at once. Each is very long, over 150 minutes, and with 10 minute comedies, some repeating the theme of romance triangles several times, it could get monotonous. I would suggest breaking up the viewing of these discs for better enjoyment.Read more ›
Charley Chase after a brief career in vaudeville entered Al Christie's movie studio as a comedian in 1913 before settling down at Keystone Films the following year --- Chase's career in films did not start off with remarkable success --- He played bit parts in a large number of short comedies, appearing with Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, among others, before he finally got his chance at Hal Roach Studios as a director, before Roach realized what a gifted performer he had hired. "I can play anything!" Chase once told Roach, and eventually his claim was confirmed --- Although Mack Sennett's Keystone studio has earned legendary status as the ultimate factory of comic invention, it can hardly be denied that Roach developed a more refined style of comedy which obviously fitted Chase better (indeed, Sennett's unsophisticated product increasingly lost favor with the movie-going public by the early 1920s, while Roach's studio flourished). During five years, 1924-29, he starred in nearly a hundred two-reelers, most of which were directed by Leo McCarey.
Chase usually portrayed an apparently gentle and charming man who in reality, it eventually turned out, was quite a loser after all. His character was largely inspired by Lloyd Hamilton, another neglected comedian whom Chase had directed in several two-reelers.Read more ›
He became Charley Chase (hence the name of the set) to distinguish the comedian from the director. His onscreen character bears a remarkable resemblance to Dick Van Dyke who must have been familiar with Chase's comedies. It was initially based on a once popular comedian named Lloyd Hamilton. He became Roach's number one comedy headliner until he was eclipsed by Laurel & Hardy in the late 20s. He continued to act and direct (at Columbia including a few 3 Stooges shorts in the late 30s like VIOLENT IS THE WORD FOR CURLY) until his early death from a heart attack at the age of 46. That was in 1940. The various audio commentaries on the shorts and the brief bio THE PARROTT CHASE provide excellent background information.
This set has been years in the making as some of the early material was very hard to come by and there were a number of complications over who was going to release it. Thanks to Allday Entertainment and to VCI Entertainment for finally getting the job done.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My wife prefers Charlie in these shorts to the last series he made as talkies. They have more imaginative storylines and are more frantically paced. Great series of shorts. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Stephen Fleschler
Charley Chase is by far the best silent (and some talkie shorts) comedian. Chaplin, Keaton, and even Harold Llyod don't come close. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Rabur
After having watched Milestone's disappointing "Cut to the Chase - The Charley Chase Collection" (see my review under that title), I decided to order this release from VCI/Allday... Read morePublished on April 12, 2013 by JDC
Quite a bit of lip service has been paid to Charley Chase and his brand of comedy, but not much has been done to make it available, other than a pair of fine anthologies from KINO. Read morePublished on December 16, 2009 by Brent R. Swanson
I certainly enjoyed these complete vintage movies. I was happy to see that in spite of being over-exposed, under-saturated, and generally decomposed, most of the movies are pretty... Read morePublished on November 16, 2009 by frankebe
Very good collection of silent movie comedies starring the forgotten Charley Chase. Hope VCI have more stuff like this lined up - I have the Weiss-o-rama, Arbuckle and Langdon box... Read morePublished on November 9, 2009 by MARK C. BALE