>> Saturday, August 7, 2010
Good evening, fellow inebriates,
Tonight I bear glad tidings. Flicker Alley, one of the few DVD producers actively releasing restored silent films, has announced the October 26th release of Chaplin at Keystone, a 4-DVD set featuring new restorations of the surviving 34 films (33 shorts and the feature Tillie's Punctured Romance) which Charlie Chaplin made during his first year in the movie business. These films are of immeasurable historical value, as they show the movies' first (and perhaps most-talented) megastar developing his beloved comedy character, while he simultaneously learns to act, write, and direct for the camera.
For lovers of soused cinema, this collection is also a treasure trove of sloshed slapstick. Throughout his career, Chaplin employed drunken shtick to generate laughs, but booze was most prominent in his earliest films, being that he entered the medium flush from the stage success of his "Mumming Birds" drunk act.
While many of the Keystone shorts have been released previously on budget DVDs, they have been shoddy affairs, with ragged prints, missing footage, and scenes assembled out-of-order. The Flicker Alley set promises to be a revelation for Chaplin fans. As their press release states, "With the support of Association Chaplin (Paris), 35mm full aperture, early-generation materials were gathered over an eight year search on almost all the films from archives and collectors around the world, and were painstakingly pieced together and restored by the British Film Institute National Archive, the Cineteca Bologna and its laboratory L’Immagine Ritrovata in Italy, and Lobster Films in Paris."
I, for one, can't wait to see these improved videos, despite the fact that it will mean that I will likely have to go back and revise my prior reviews of several Keystone shorts. That should prove to be a very pleasurable labor.
While five months still remain in 2010, I can say without doubt that this will be the most important soused cinema video release of the year. I strongly encourage lovers of booze movies (and film in general) to visit Flicker Alley's Website and pre-order this glorious release.
If you need more convincing, here's a link to the press release-->Chaplin At Keystone, an international collaboration of 34 original films
Charlie Chaplin at Keystone and Essanay: Dawn of the Tramp
The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin: Artistry in Motion
Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema