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Chaplin At Keystone: An International Collaboration of 34 Original Films

Charles Chaplin , Mabel Normand , Charles Chaplin , Mabel Normand  |  G |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Price: $79.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Chaplin At Keystone: An International Collaboration of 34 Original Films + Charlie Chaplin Short Comedy Classics - The Complete Restored Essanay & Mutual Collection
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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Roscoe Arbuckle, Marie Dressler, Chester Conklin
  • Directors: Charles Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Mack Sennett, Henry Lehrman, George Nichols
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Silent
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Flicker Alley
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 590 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003YBNNMY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,263 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

Chaplin At Keystone also includes several fascinating special features. An extensive booklet provides an overview of the importance of the Chaplin Keystone comedies and detailed notes on the individual films by film historian and author Jeffrey Vance (Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema). Inside the Keystone Project is a short documentary detailing the international restoration efforts; historian John Bengtson takes a "then and now" look at several Keystone film locations in a 10 minute filmed tour based on his book Silent Traces. There is also a short excerpt from A Thief Catcher, recently-discovered by Paul E. Gierucki, with Chaplin as a Keystone Cop; along with the animated Charlie's White Elephant, and a gallery of rare photographs.

Editorial Reviews

Charles Chaplin came to Mack Sennett s Keystone Studios late in 1913 as a little-known British vaudevillian, and after a year, had not only established his Tramp character, learned to write and direct his own films, and also achieved public recognition as a star comedian. Although Keystone did not publicize its performers by name, standees of Chaplin's likeness outside theaters sufficed to attract audiences. Some of the films, especially Tillie's Punctured Romance, remained in theatrical distribution for decades. The fact that all but one of the Chaplin Keystones exist is due, of course, to the star s enormous subsequent popularity. Most of the original Keystone negatives, however, were simply printed away and the survival of all but a few of these films depends upon a very few original prints, a larger number of reissue prints, and some duped prints from later years. With the support of Association Chaplin (Paris), 35mm full aperture, early-generation materials were gathered over an eight year search on almost all the films from archives and collectors around the world, and were painstakingly pieced together and restored by the British Film Institute National Archive, the Cineteca Bologna and its laboratory L Immagine Ritrovata in Italy, and Lobster Films in Paris. Most are now clear, sharp and rock-steady, although some reveal that their source prints are well-used and a handful survives only in 16mm. While admitting these limitations, one can now understand Chaplin's meteoric rise, for it is possible for the first time in generations to see clearly what clever and imaginative films he made at Keystone. Flicker Alley is proud to present the world debut of Chaplin at Keystone, a 4-DVD boxed set. These editions feature all-new musical settings by outstanding practitioners of silent film accompaniment Eric Beheim, Neil Brand, Antonio Coppola, Frederick Hodges, Stephen Horne, Robert Israel, Rodney Sauer and The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Ethan Uslan, and Ken Winokur's band Tillie s Nightmare with the UCLA Film and Television Archive restoration of Tillie's Punctured Romance. Chaplin At Keystone also includes several fascinating special features. An extensive booklet provides an overview of the importance of the Chaplin Keystone comedies and detailed notes on the individual films by film historian and author Jeffrey Vance (Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema). Inside the Keystone Project is a short documentary detailing the international restoration efforts; historian John Bengtson takes a then and now look at several Keystone film locations in a 10 minute filmed tour based on his book Silent Traces. There is also a short excerpt from A Thief Catcher, recently-discovered by Paul E. Gierucki, with Chaplin as a Keystone Cop; along with the animated Charlie's White Elephant, and a gallery of rare photographs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
David Shepard gave a sneak preview of these new DVDs at the Niles-Essanay Film Museum's Edison Theater on Friday September 24th 2010. He called it the "World Wide Premier" of these restorations. Eight years in the making, and it is finally here! RESTORED KEYSTONE COMEDIES with Charlie Chaplin.

Imagine seeing the Keystone Chaplins projected on a theater screen, most looking as good as the Chaplin Mutual restorations! Seven films from this set were shown to an amazed audience. All were accustomed to the washed out, fuzzy, jumpy videos that have been on the market for ages, making it hard to enjoy the films. Now they are razor sharp, with perfect contrast & stabilized images. The projection speed has been slowed down, now you have time to see Charlie's facial reactions & body mannerisms. At this corrected speed these comedies feel more mature, Chaplin's genius is more apparent.

David explained that all of these comedies on the DVD set were sourced from multiple archival prints (30 different prints were used to make the most complete version of TILLIE'S PUNCTURED ROMANCE). Most of the time it is not apparent when the source material changes. ALL films are mastered from 35mm archive sources except "RECREATION" which had to use 16mm prints for several sequences missing from the existing 35mm sources.

Here are the seven 1914 comedies from this set that were shown in the theater, six of which looked perfect.

The first one shown, MABEL'S STRANGE PREDICAMENT (with & directed by Mabel Normand, w/ Chester Conklin, Alice Davenport & Billy Gilbert), was the weakest restoration as negative spots appeared through out the short. I thought it was odd to start the show with this comedy as it kind of set the tone that these will be sharp & clear, but with defects.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
By Casey62
Verified Purchase
It's always been my belief that Charlie Chaplin's Keystone comedies rank alongside his best work as clever and funny films in their own right, and now with this fabulously restored boxed set from Flicker Alley, that belief has been amply confirmed.

For decades these films have had significance in the minds of historians only because Chaplin created his tramp character at Keystone, this despite the fact that he made 36 movies while at the studio in 1914 - a considerable output. For the most part though, the Keystones have been unfairly dismissed as unimportant and primitive in their knockabout comedic style. This opinion has been fostered largely because the films, which were hugely popular in their day, have been available in very poor quality prints with improperly sped up projection and inappropriate musical accompaniment. This kind of careless presentation through the years gave a wrong impression and hid the true merits that the Keystone films contain. Roughly 95% of the material in this new collection has been pieced together from 35mm nitrate sources so that we can now better appreciate the importance of the films and view them as they were intended to be seen.

Chaplin's tramp is already the familiar "little fellow" in these films, and he displays a knack for mischief - like the early Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny - which he gradually discarded in his later work but in retrospect is very refreshing to see. The pathos Chaplin became so famous for may not be as evident in the Keystones, but everything else - the costume and make-up, the body language, the facial expressions, the waddling walk - is all there right from the start.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Exactly what was it that made Charlie Chaplin so extremely popular at the very beginning of his film career? The question has puzzled many, even well-known authorities on the subject. Playwright and critic Walter Kerr came up with the (in my opinion somewhat far-fetched) theory that Chaplin with his Keystone-films made his audience a "promise," whereas poet Lars Forssell in his analysis on Chaplin remains bewildered as to why the comedian at all was considered extraordinary more or less from the start. And little wonder; Chaplin's Keystone-films were very much worn out by the time said writers attempted to analyze them. Throughout the 1910s and 20s, the films had been frequently re-edited by insensitive hands, taking full advantage of the fact that Chaplin did not legally own his films at that point, and played in theaters over and over and over again. Add this with how poorly celluloid tends to age, and you're left with a rusty if not downright disturbing experience.

Until BFI's restorations on the Chaplin-Keystones were finally released a few weeks back, no soul could imagine just to what degree the original pleasure of his first films had been obliterated. I had personally been waiting six years for this set to become true, and am immensely happy to finally witness it being completed, like so many other Chaplin-fans. Now, we are finally able to study Chaplin's evolvement both as an actor, director and story constructor during his first year in the medium of celluloid; and what's more, we're forced to recognize that the reason why Chaplin made it big so quickly was because he made damn funny films from the very beginning.

I want to tip my derby in gratitude to everyone involved in this project.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent collection
Published 2 months ago by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars Good early film collection for fans.
Decent enough collection of Chaplin's early films. Some appear fairly scratchy but that's only to be expected. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Great work of Chaplin's early years.
If you are a die hard Charlie Chaplin fan then you need to add this to your collection. The prints are not that bad.
Published 4 months ago by James Licata
5.0 out of 5 stars Beg,borrow or steal a copy of this set-a MUST have!
Chaplin at Keystone is the recently released four DVD set of all of Chaplin films except one,"Her Friend the Bandit". Read more
Published 11 months ago by Robert Badgley
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny
I've had my eye on this set for a couple of years, and finally purchased it recently. I'm so glad I did! Read more
Published 13 months ago by saskrs
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Chaplin Still Rocks!!!
FUNNY, FUNNY, FUNNY!!! He is a magnificent genious who understood timing of comical situations! Brilliant collection! Must have for you who are hard core FANS of Charlie Chaplin. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Smiling!
3.0 out of 5 stars For Chaplin fanatics, or curious, or completists collectors
Boring. I am a fan of the latest Tramp movies, starting with the First National Studios, where he did, among others, "The Idle Class", "A Dog's Life", "The Kid". Read more
Published 21 months ago by Alencar B. P. Fh
4.0 out of 5 stars really good
this guy can make you laugh without any words spoken. i do recommend this set for laughs at home with friends or that especial someone
Published 22 months ago by lito
1.0 out of 5 stars RESTORED? A mixed bag
I was thrilled when I heard about the Chaplin At Keystone project back in 2003. I waited 8 years for this to be complete, and sad to say it's a great let down. Read more
Published on September 20, 2012 by Ricky
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tramp Is Born
"Chaplin At Keystone" represents the finest overview of the comic filmmaker's 1914 tenure with Mack Sennett's Fun Factory. Read more
Published on May 17, 2012 by Scott T. Rivers
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amazon a total ripoff
The MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) is $79.99 -- if anyone is selling it higher than that, it's a ripoff. Amazon is selling it at a very reasonable price, but naturally there will be some places selling it at a loss for much less. Kinda like what Amazon does on a daily basis with... Read More
Oct 14, 2010 by Grand Conjurer |  See all 3 posts
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