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Chaplin Mutual Comedies - Restored Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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(Jul 11, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Twelve films directed and written by Charlie Chaplin, with new orchestral scores composed and conducted by Carl Davis! Restored from premier quality original 35mm film! This edition of THE CHAPLIN MUTUAL COMEDIES has been restored from the finest surviving 35mm film elements, with additions and improvements from new film materials which have recently surfaced.

Special Features

  • All 12 shorts restored from original 35mm prints restored by David Shepard
  • Original scores composed and conducted by Carl Davis
  • Richard Patterson's 1975 documentary The Gentleman Tramp
  • Kevin Macdonald's 1996 documentary Chaplin’s Goliath
  • Still gallery
  • Two booklets with essays by Jeffrey Vance and Richard Patterson

Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin
  • Directors: Charlie Chaplin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Restored
  • 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
  • DVD Release Date: July 11, 2006
  • Run Time: 301 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F4TMIW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,747 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
***2014 update***
Get the new Flicker Alley Blu-ray that David Shepard put out! Chaplin's Mutual Comedies. David has out-done himself on ONE AM! Now we have a razor sharp image in addition to the restored 7 minutes. You would think it was filmed yesterday!

-----original review 2006--------
David Shepard gave a sneak preview of these new DVDs at the Niles-Essanay Film Museum's Edison Theater on June 23,2006. I must say that while the last DVD restoration was great, this one keeps that same excellent film transfer, but adds more missing footage & title/dialogue cards from newly discovered prints.

ONE AM has the biggest improvement with a total of over 7 minutes of additional footage, I was not able to do a side-by-side comparison but there were scenes I did not remember. I do not want to spoil the comedy surprises of new footage here, you will have to enjoy it yourself.

Other shorts such as THE RINK included new comedy bits and title / dialogue cards that helped the flow & understanding of the story.

The bottom line is that this restoration does not improve on the already sharper picture quality of the previous release, but it does add missing footage not seen in the U.S. since the films' original releases.

***UPDATE 7/20:***
I have now had a chance to do a syncronized side-by-side comparison. While all of the other shorts are restored as mentioned above, adding new footage to the existing transfer, ONE AM is a totally new transfer.

My reaction to this new transfer is mixed. The big plus is a total of 7 minutes of new material added through out the short!
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Format: DVD
If there's any truth to the proverb that the biggest enemy to great is good, this presentation of Chaplin's Mutual-films is not without an enemy. Granted, these twelve short films, made in 1916-17 to fulfill a contract which made the comedian into the highest-paid entertainer of his day, have been available in at least reasonably good prints through the years. This can be attributed to their lasting popularity, which assured that recent reissues of the films were still in circulation well into the era of TV. With this in mind, Chaplin's earlier films at Keystone and Essanay may appear to have been in more desperate need of restoration, as the public demand for these earlier, somewhat cruder films ceased as the years went by, causing the shape of surviving prints to deteriorate. However, while I fully support the ambition to have both the Keystones and Essanays restored as best as possible, a strong case can be made that it was during his period at Mutual that Chaplin turned out his first masterpieces, and to have these films available in "at least reasonably good prints" is simply not satisfying in the long run. This set, RESTORED 90TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION, does not only assure that the entertainment value of the films is kept intact; it actually takes Chaplin's artistic evolution seriously, making viewers able to study every nuance and detail through crisp, crystal-clear presentations. All in all, Image Entertainment has produced the most visually satisfying versions of the Mutual-films, ever.

As is to be expected, David Shepard, among others, has been involved in the restoration, using the best sources available. In some cases, most notably in ONE A.M. and THE RINK, the restorations even provide recently discovered footage, apparently not seen since their original releases.
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It has been 90 years since these great comedies were made (1916-17) and many folks that are new to Chaplin may dismiss them as funny shorts. Chaplin by 1916 was a real big star and was paid $650,000 to do these 12 comedies in a little over a year. A ridiculous sum in 1916. Unlike his full feature films from the 20's and 30's (with the exception of City Lights - a masterpiece)) where there was much emphasis on pathos,and tearjerking scenes, these comedies are wild and wacky. In 1970, I bought some of these on 8mm films thru Blackhawk Films and the quality was OK, but these prints are a revelation. The Mutual Comedies are the height of Chaplin's art. Each film features a theme: The Pawnbroker, The Rink, The Vagabond, Easy Street etc. and they are all hilarious. The Mutuals had a cast of stock actors that too were outstanding including his 300-pound bully Eric Campbell, Edna Purveyance, his love interest, Albert Austin, Henry Bergman and others. THIS IS THE FINEST QUALITY EVER SEEN ON THESE MOVIES! There are Documentaries galore which are also very interesting. Without dialogue, Chaplin could make you laugh just with his eyes or an expression, or his walk. People forget that he revolutionized motion pictures by bringing movies even to the smallest of towns. People all over the world loved Chaplin. This is a milestone in cinema history and every serious student of film should own this and watch a master at work.
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Format: DVD
The Chaplin Mutual Comedies are BACK IN PRINT and returning in 2013!!

This is from DVD Producer David Shepard over at Nitrateville:

"These are the versions with the Carl Davis scores, "The Gentleman Tramp," and "Chaplin's Goliath". After a couple of years out of print, (scalpers have been selling new copies for $200 on amazon.com), the set is finally back as pressed DVDs. Back orders are being shipped now, and copies should soon be available at normal prices (retail is $60 for the 4-disc set, and of course they will be widely discounted).

It may take a while for them to show up at amazon, B&N, Deep Discount or your other favorite retailer, but like St. Nicholas, they will soon be there.

After a year pestering Image Entertainment, they finally did it ..."

GREAT news if you don't own these already. Finally, those charging an arm and a leg for this set will get nothing!
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