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Charlie Chaplin, Vol. 5 [DVD]

SKU:13924284
Release Date:07/06/2004
Rating:
$3.99

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    Overview

    Special Features


    • Digitally mastered
    • Interactive menus
    • Chapter Selections
    • Digitally enhanced audio 5.1

    Synopsis


    A Day's Pleasure
    Charlie Chaplin's fourth film for First National is generally considered a lightweight entry and a throwback to earlier days. It begins with Charlie, Edna and their two boys leaving their house (actually a corner of Chaplin's studio at La Brea and De Longpre in Hollywood) for a day's outing. The family piles into the family flivver, and after Charlie's amusing efforts to keep the engine running, they arrive at a dock and board a crowded day cruiser. Charlie has a disagreement with another passenger (Tom Wilson), when he squeezes himself into a place on the bench next to the fellow's hefty wife, (Babe London). When Wilson tosses the famous derby onto the dock, Charlie races off the boat to get it. As the vessel pulls away from the dock, a large woman with a baby carriage tries to board, but ends up stretched between the dock and the boat. Charlie, returning with his hat uses her as a gangplank, then tries to pull her aboard with a grappling hook. Once the boat is under way, the passengers dance to the music of a small combo, but soon everyone is feeling the effects of the violently rocking cruiser. Charlie has to stop dancing with the lovely Edna to sit by the railing near the trombonist, whose own mal de mer turns the black man quite pale. Meanwhile, Edna and the kids are napping on deck chairs and Charlie decides to join them. In typical Chaplinesque fashion, he cannot seem to assemble his chair. Overcome by seasickness he collapses into the lap of the equally bilious Babe and is covered with a blanket by a helpful steward. When the lady's jealous husband returns with drinks he tries to attack Charlie, but becomes too nauseated to continue, of which the now recovered Charlie takes advantage. The return trip in the family car is equally eventful. Charlie runs afoul of a couple of traffic cops, is blocked by some irate pedestrians, one of whose foul language spurs Charlie to indicate the divine retribution awaiting him, and backs into a tar truck which spills its contents on the street. The cops, berating Charlie for blocking traffic, get stuck in the tar along with Charlie, but he cleverly steps out of his large shoes and drives off with his family, much to the amusement of the onlookers. This last scene may have originally been intended to occur earlier in the film, according to continuity sheets existing in the Chaplin archives, but was placed at he end of the film for the released version. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

    The Bond
    This short promotional film Charlie Chaplin made for the U.S. Liberty Loan bond campaign was shot in a few days during the shooting of Shoulder Arms. Using rather stark, expressionistic sets and props, it tells the story of the various types of bonds between people. The bond of friendship, shows Chaplin meeting friend Albert Austin who tells him jokes, borrows money, then invites him for a drink with the money he's borrowed. The bond of love is represented by Charlie and Edna, who are struck by cupid's arrows and soon enter into the bond of matrimony. But the "most important of all" is the Liberty Bond. Edna is Miss Liberty, threatened by the Kaiser who has subdued a soldier in uniform. Charlie is seen buying bonds from Uncle Sam who gives the money in turn to a worker, who gives guns to a soldier and sailor. Finally, Charlie KOs the Kaiser with a mallet inscribed "Liberty Bonds" and extorts the audience to help the cause. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

    One A.M.
    Charlie Chaplin's fourth film for Mutual is a tour de force solo performance, with Chaplin playing his classic drunk, returning home in the wee hours. The only other character in the film is the taxi driver who is oblivious to Charlie's difficulties getting out of the cab. Charlie has equal problems getting into his house. He can't find his key and enters via a window, but he soon finds his key in his vest pocket and exits via the window, reentering in the proper way, through the door. His house is filled with inanimate objects, which to his mind, are ganging up against him. The stuffed animals seem to attack him as he slides on throw rugs along the slippery floor and tries to reach a liquor bottle on a revolving table that keeps eluding him. When he attempts to climb the stairs, he is repeatedly struck by the oversized pendulum of a wall clock and sent tumbling down the staircase. Finally reaching his bedroom, his automatic Murphy bed seems to have a mind of its own, trapping him as it revolves round and round inside its wall compartment, bucking him like a bronco when he sits on it and falling on top of him when he lays on the floor. Finally abandoning the bedroom, Charlie goes to the bathroom, soaking himself as he tries to get a drink from the shower stall and then settling down for the night in the bathtub. Although essentially plotless, One A.M. is a brilliant clinic in physical comedy and the psychology of alcoholic delusions. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

    The Vagabond
    Charlie Chaplin's third film in his Mutual period is his first minor masterpiece. It combines comedy and drama in the style that Chaplin had developed in his earlier Essanay film The Tramp and anticipates later dramatic comedies such as The Kid and City Lights. Charlie plays an itinerant violinist whose famous feet we first see emerging from the swinging doors of a saloon. He takes up his position outside the back door and begins his concert, but at this moment a street band begins playing outside the front door. When Charlie enters the saloon to pass the hat, the patrons, believing he's part of the band, contribute generously. When the real band leader enters to pass his hat, a fight and chase begin from which Charlie eventually escapes. The audience is now introduced to "The Mother," an obviously upper-class woman who interrupts her embroidering and looks longingly at a photograph of her long-lost child. Charlie, having forsaken the city, wanders down a country road where he comes upon a gypsy encampment where a beautiful drudge (Edna Purviance), under the control of the brutal Gypsy Chief (Eric Campbell) is washing clothes. Charlie plays a concert for his audience of one, the fast tempo causing the girl to scrub her laundry at a lightning pace and his soulful playing evoking her strong emotions. The concert is interrupted by the Chief, who pushes Charlie into a water basin and beats the girl severely for shirking her duties. Seeing this brutality, Charlie puts aside his cane and violin in favor of a stout club and rescues the girl in an exciting scene in which they dramatically escape in one of the wagons. Later, encamped by the side of a road, Charlie prepares breakfast while the girl goes for water. She meets a handsome artist (Lloyd Bacon), who, noticing a shamrock shaped birthmark on her arm, asks her to pose for him. After he finishes his sketch, she invites him to breakfast. During the meal, it's obvious from her face that she's infatuated with him, and Charlie is aware that he's losing her. When the artist leaves, the girl gazes longingly after him as Charlie watches her apprehensively. Some time later, the painting is exhibited in a posh gallery and the Mother, in attendance, almost collapses as she recognizes her daughter by her birthmark. Meanwhile Charlie tries to cheer up the despondent girl by promising that he'll learn to draw too. Suddenly a limousine pulls up and mother and daughter are reunited. Charlie gallantly refuses a cash reward and wishes the artist luck just before they drive off. Alone, Charlie tries to cheer himself but succumbs to his emotions. In the limousine the girl realizes her true feelings and makes the driver return to Charlie, whom she excitedly hauls off to the limousine and to a presumed life of luxury. This was not the ending originally planned for the film, in which Chaplin was going to have the Tramp attempt a drowning suicide, only to be rescued by a homely farm girl, and seeing her, jumping back in again. Fortunately, he opted for the happier, more optimistic ending. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

    The Pawnshop
    Charlie Chaplin's sixth film for the Mutual Film Corporation is a marvel of sight gags, comic transformations and brilliant pantomime. Charlie plays an assistant in a pawnshop, where he arrives late for work and is scolded by the portly Pawnbroker, played by Henry Bergman in his first role in a Chaplin film. Bergman was to go on to play in most of the Chaplin films through Modern Times, also filling the roles of Assistant Director, gagman and confidant. Charlie annoys his rival employee (John Rand) with his dusting and a series of conflicts between them arise. They must go outside and clean the store front, and Charlie, trapping Rand between the rungs of a ladder, performs a ballet-like boxing scene, striking his helpless opponent until a cop arrives on the scene, whereupon Charlie's movements become the most graceful of dances. Back inside the shop, their fight escalates until the Pawnbroker enters and angrily discharges Charlie. The little fellow's heart-breaking pleas for forgiveness, during which he mimes that he has many children ranging in height from about two to seven feet, cause the boss to relent. Alone again, Charlie renews his attack on Rand with vigor, but just as he's about to deliver the coup de grace, Edna Purviance, the boss' daughter, enters from the back room curious as to the commotion. Charlie swiftly lays down on the floor and Edna scolds the near-unconscious Rand for striking "a mere child," patting Charlie's cheek as he admires her figure. She takes him into the kitchen and gives him a doughnut, which Chaplin's wonderful pantomime ability makes us believe weighs 20 pounds, as he exercises with it as if it were a dumbbell. When Rand enters, the fight resumes, but hearing the racket the boss comes in and Charlie quickly resumes his role as baker then goes to the safe to retrieve his lunch. Manning the shop Charlie encounters three customers, the first an old actor wanting to pawn his late wife's ring for five dollars. His histrionics touch Charlie deeply. He gives the bereaved man 10 dollars from the till and the ring back as well. When the man offers to gives Charlie change and pulls out huge wad of bills, Charlie knows he's been had. Meanwhile, another customer arrives wishing to pawn an alarm clock. In a long, brilliant scene of comic transformations, better seen than described, Charlie becomes surgeon, jeweller, ribbon clerk and mechanic as he dismantles and destroys the clock to the total amazement of the customer, Albert Austin. Gathering the detritus of the ruined timepiece and sweeping them into Austin's derby, Charlie rejects the item, sending the protesting customer packing with a blow from a rubber hammer. His next customer is a lady with a bowl of goldfish, which Charlie tests for authenticity by pouring muriatic acid (the famous "acid test") into the bowl. The boss emerges and he sends the lady away. Meanwhile Charlie and Rand are at it again, and a flying wad of dough catches both boss and crook in the face. The boss chases Charlie from the kitchen, whereupon Charlie hides in a trunk to avoid punishment. Just then the crook emerges from the safe, gun drawn, stolen diamonds under his arm and holds the others at bay. Charlie heroically emerges from the trunk, and in balletic movements, smashes the crook over the head, embraces Edna, receives a pat on the back from the boss and delivers one final back kick to his rival. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

    The Count
    The Count, filmed during Charlie Chaplin's 1916-17 Mutual period, is a rowdy throwback to his Keystone days. Chaplin plays the assistant to bombastic clothes-presser Eric Campbell. While dallying with the cook at the Moneybags Mansion, Charlie spots Eric, posing as Count Broko. Eric tries to hide his subterfuge by introducing Charlie as his secretary. In this guise, Charlie is invited to a formal dinner dance presided over by lovely socialite Edna Purviance. When the real Count Broko (Leo White) shows up, chaos reigns supreme. The Count was the fifth of Chaplin's "golden dozen" Mutual two-reelers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Behind the Screen
    In Behind the Screen, the seventh of his 12 Mutual Studios two-reelers, Charlie Chaplin pokes some less than gentle fun at his former employer Mack Sennett. Chaplin and Eric Campbell play a couple of bumbling stagehands at Gigantic Picture Studios. They knock each other about, break for lunch, and knock each about again. Pretty Edna Purviance sneaks into the studio disguised as a boy. Chaplin finds out her secret and steals a kiss -- drawing a very suspicious glance from Campbell. The film ends with a combination union strike and slapstick pie fight. Best bit: a temperamental movie comedian refuses to throw a pie without proper "motivation." Chaplin spent so much time achieving perfection in Behind the Screen that Mutual was obliged to apologize to its exhibitors for missing the scheduled release date by two weeks. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi




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