10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Very good, with few complaints,
This review is from: The Chaplin Collection, Vol. 2 (City Lights / The Circus / The Kid / A King in New York / A Woman of Paris / Monsieur Verdoux / The Chaplin Revue / Charlie - The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin) (DVD)
Once again, as with Volume 1, the main pieces of this box are first class, simply great quality reissues of Chaplins greatest (and less great) films. It's the other pieces that leave cause me to scratch my head.
So, let's start with what is good.
We have here some of Chaplin's finest silent work, including my favorite, The Circus. The films are expertly restored and projected at a speed which is about as close to the subjective "correct speed" as possible. The soundtracks are well restored, and there are plenty of cut scenes, outtakes and home movies to go along with the original films.
A couple of films are notoriously weak, and one just has to look at the box to figure out which ones those are. "Monsieur Verdoux" has only one disc, and "A Woman of Paris" and "A King in New York" actually share a 2 disc set. But these films are essential to completing Chaplin's legacy, and it is good to have them well issued and in as nice a presentation as possible.
There is a 5.1 surround soundtrack, which is really wierd, since these were issued in mono to start with. Why not just colorize the films while you're at it, M2K? (I know, some people just can't watch a film with a mono soundtrack, but this is really excessive.)
The we have the documentary by Richard Schickel, which, which good, is very frustrating. It's great to see brief clips of the Keystone films in excellent quality, but isn't it time to release the ENTIRE collection of Keystones in best-possible quality? WHEN, OH WHEN, WILL THIS HAPPEN!
Some argument could also be made that the short films in this collection could have been better considered. There are several different versions of some of these films, "Shoulder Arms" comes to mind, and it is quite possible that the version sused here are the best pictorial quality, but not the best acting quality. This is a very subjective topic, but I would have liked to see the original "Shoulder Arms" included as well, perhaps the most substantially different of the versions. This is a minor complaint, though.
The "Chaplin Today" documentaries, as in the first box set, are rather pathetic, and self-defeating in their attempts to make Chaplin relevent to today's audiences. If Chaplin wasn't relevent, then nobody would by this box set, and I wouldn't bother writing this review. But he is relevent. Trying to convice people so doesn't work, unfortunately, so we end up with these rather pathetic documentary attempts.
But overall, this is a collection of gems, and complaining about the ancillary pieces of this collection is like complaining about the floor in the room containing the Hope Diamond. It's only the actual films that matter, and they are superb.