- Paperback: 230 pages
- Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (August 15, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0595365981
- ISBN-13: 978-0595365982
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,667,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Charlie Chaplin at Keystone and Essanay: Dawn of the Tramp 0th Edition
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About the Author
Ted Okuda is the author of The Columbia Comedy Shorts and The Monogram Checklist, and co-author of The Jerry Lewis Films and The Golden Age of Chicago Childrens Television. David Maska is a film collector/historian whose articles have appeared in Classic Images and Filmfax.
Top customer reviews
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When Ted Okuda and David Maska told this writer about the publication of this book, I was intrigued by their novel approach to the subject: concentrating entirely upon these often neglected comedies, Okuda and Maska viewed the films in chronological order. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that this simple and very effective approach has been applied to Chaplin. The results are praiseworthy.
We can follow Chaplin's screen character (and his own blossoming talents as a filmmaker) during its formative stages, in the proper sequence. The authors even offer some new evidence that certain films were produced or released in a different order than most Chaplin filmographies indicate.
Okuda and Maska examine the "body of evidence" with objective eyes. This isn't the usual pedantic Chaplin discourse; the tone is disarmingly casual, and meets the reader on common ground as a fellow viewer or a video enthusiast. There are so many alternate versions of the early Chaplin films, and so many bad bootleg prints and videos, that the authors take pains to steer readers toward the optimal viewing experience, and warn them about films that are incomplete or not well preserved.
Not everything Chaplin did was golden: Okuda and Maska are sometimes candid about those improvisational films that were simply haphazard fights or pants-kicking festivals. But the authors do show respect for other tastes, by following their own assessments with a variety of critical viewpoints.
Longtime collectors and home-movie enthusiasts will especially enjoy reading about the dozens and dozens of alternate versions of the Keystones and Essanays. There are also some excellent vintage illustrations, including a beauty of a one-sheet poster from the 1914 comedy "The Knockout" -- this 1920 reissue boldly promotes Chaplin over the actual star, Roscoe Arbuckle.
If you like Charlie Chaplin, you'll like this book. If you love Charlie Chaplin, it's essential reading.
Part of the problem with this book is that the audience is undefined. Is this book written for the rapidly diminishing group of fans who are still collecting 8mm films of Chaplin? Then a large portion of the book serves some purpose, as it is a listing of all the known films and their alternate titles. Most people, however, are content to watch this on dvds, so this section of the book is almost useless.
Also, I purchased this book expecting a new insight into the films as I watch them. Instead, many of films are quickly dismissed. I can dismiss a film quite easily by myself, thank you, I need help appreciating them!
It's a good read, but not really what I expected.
Perhaps the wierdest moment of all was realizing that several of my old Amazon reviews had been quoted (and fully acknowledged) in this book! It's a shame, really - they aren't even very good reviews!