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Chaplin's Goliath: In Search of Scotland's Forgotten Star (1996)

Bill Paterson , Brenda Bull , Kevin Macdonald  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Paterson, Brenda Bull, Peter Menzies, Jimmy Logan, David Robinson
  • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
  • Writers: Kevin Macdonald
  • Producers: Catherine Aitken, Fran Robertson, Scott Ferguson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 8, 2003
  • Run Time: 54 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000A0WHC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,868 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Chaplin's Goliath: In Search of Scotland's Forgotten Star" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

This fascinating documentary traces the story of Charlie Chaplin's "heavy" co-star in the classic Mutual comedies, Eric Campbell, telling a dramatic and often touching story about the players who created a comedic legacy. Includes rare outtakes, screen t

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If you have seen any of the twelve two-reelers that Charlie Chaplin produced between 1916-1917 for the Mutual Company, then you have probably seen Eric Campbell, who played the menacing villain to Chaplin's Tramp in all but one of those silent comedies ("One A.M."). Campbell provided Chaplin with his most memorable foil, not only because of his immense size and fierce looking makeup, but also because of his comic ability, honed on the music hall stages of England with Fred Karno's company. "Chaplin's Goliath: In Search of Scotland's Forgotten Star," written and directed by Kevin MacDonald, traces the actor's brief film career, which was cut short by a car accident in December 1917 when he was doing his first dramatic film with Mary Pickford. But as this 1996 documentary evidences, Campbell's career will forever be identified with that of Chaplin.

"Chaplin's Goliath" uses rare footage and historical documents, along with interviews with Campbell's granddaughter and such Chaplin experts as biographer David Robinson, to tell the actor's story from his roots in Scotland to his long delayed burial in a Hollywood cemetery. Indeed, the documentary essentially begins and acts with the placing of plaques commemorating Campbell in those two locations. The result is not only a compilation of pretty much everything that is known about Eric Campbell, but a look at what comedy was like during the silent film era, especially when Chaplin had become the most famous face on the planet. There are film clips of music hall comedians of the period and not only of some of the comedians who impersonated Chaplin (e.g.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good doc September 9, 2008
In the course of just the first few films with Chaplin, easily the biggest film star in the world, Eric Campbell himself became famous. Recall the scene where The Tramp literally gaslights Campbell in Easy Street? It's still one of the funniest and most memorable sequences in screen history. His thick, animalistic eyebrows, and patented slow burn, soon inspired imitators of himself (Oliver Hardy was one of them), just as Chaplin inspired imitators- one of them ironically being Stan Laurel, who knew Campbell and Chaplin from their days with Karno. So, flush with cash, Campbell brought his wife and daughter to Hollywood. Then, in an all too Hollywood fashion, disaster struck. Campbell's wife died suddenly, his daughter was in an accident, Campbell remarried a golddigger a month after his first wife's death, then divorced her two months later, and then himself died in an early morning drunken driving accident, in December of 1917. Chaplin never again had such a great onscreen foe and partner, and never again was The Tramp so delightfully wicked, which led to the detractors of Chaplin's success and greatness arming themselves with his perceived flaws, and conveniently ignoring the brilliance of his anarchic Essanay and Mutual days.
The documentary does dig up many outtakes from Chaplin films, and the onscreen and offscreen chemistry between the two men is palpable. There are many archival documents, from Campbell's childhood in Dunoon, Scotland (although his exact date of birth is unknown- anywhere from 1878-1885, and his full name was Alfred Eric Campbell) to Campbell's second wife's hilarious petition for divorce, claiming cruelty that includes exposure to hula dancing. There are the requisite experts, such as Campbell's daughter, and Chaplin expert David Robinson.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding about Charlie's Goliath January 25, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Eric Campbell would have been an excellent actor. Unfortunatelly he had an early death. This documentary is the deserved tribute to the man who worked hard with Charlie Chaplin in the best silent short moovies ever, those, for the Mutual Film Corporation, between 1916 - 1917. Eric Campbell is trully Scotland's forgotten star.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Documentary on Eric Campbell March 2, 2012
"Chaplin's Goliath" (1996) is a long-overdue documentary on actor Eric Campbell, who became the ideal comic heavy in Charlie Chaplin's 1916-17 Mutual two-reelers. The David and Goliath relationship between Charlie and Eric sparked a symbiotic rapport that evolved throughout the Mutual series. In addition to exploring Campbell's all-too-brief life and career, director Kevin Macdonald reflects upon the void in Chaplin's post-Mutual work. The loss of Campbell was immeasurable to Chaplin, who never again found a comic foil equal to Eric's talent and cinematic presence. One can only imagine Charlie and Eric (rather than Mack Swain) surviving the Klondike blizzard in "The Gold Rush." The 52-minute film includes previously unseen Mutual outtakes as well as failed screen tests for Campbell's replacement.
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