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Becoming Charley Chase

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Name a comedian in the first part of the 20th century Charley Chase worked with them, either on or off screen. He was a brilliant comedy writer, film director, and a major movie star. Almost single-handedly, he transformed the world of screen comedy from chaotic slapstick violence into a newly sophisticated comedy of manners, and laid the groundwork for the modern sitcom. He was the world s biggest skinny man and this is where his legend begins. This deluxe 4 disc collection provides a comprehensive look at Charley Chase s early years, from his days as a budding talent at Mack Sennett s Keystone Studios to becoming one of Hollywood s most in-demand comedy directors to his breakthrough as one of the top box office draws of the 1920s. Over 40 rare comedy shorts form 1915-1925 and surviving extracts of lost films digitally restored from materials provided by private collectors and major institutions from around the world. Featuring new music by the Snark Ensemble, Ben Model, the Redwine Jazz Band, and the West End Jazz. Bonus Features: Scene Selection, Audio commentaries by noted film historians, THE PARROTT CHASE 45 minute restrospective on the life and career of Charley Chase, THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE Behind the scenes with the Snark Ensemble on the making of the music for this set, Archival interview with Chase's daughter June. Product Specs: 4-DVD9s; Dolby Digital 2.0; 460 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1915-1925; SRP - $39.99.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Charley Chase
  • Directors: David Kalat
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Restored, Silent
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 460 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002A2B348
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,420 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Becoming Charley Chase" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul J. Mular TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 3, 2009
Format: DVD
First I want to say that there are NO LINER NOTES in this set, you will want to print this review for reference on what is on each disc.

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.
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Format: DVD
VCI Entertainment presents "BECOMING CHARLEY CHASE" (1915-1925) (Silent) (460 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- Charley Chase was an American comedian, screenwriter and film director, best known for his work in Hal Roach short film comedies --- While Charley Chase is far from being as famous as "The Big Three" ('Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd) today, he's highly respected as one of the "greats" by fans of silent comedy.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Charley Chase began his career as Charles Parrott (his real name) at Keystone in 1914 where he worked with Arbuckle, Normand, and Chaplin in small unbilled parts. He turned to direction at roughly the same time and eventually went to work for Hal Roach in the early 1920s where he met a young fellow named Leo McCarey. Together they made a 1924 short called SITTIN PRETTY which has an almost identical version of the mirror gag McCarey would later make famous in DUCK SOUP (It features Charley and his younger brother James Parrott who would also become a comedy director). This 4 DVD extravaganza clocks in at 450 minutes and covers his career as comedian and director from Keystone to the end of the Hal Roach era.

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.
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