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Charlie Chaplin
Marathon

(1914-1917)

 

Contents: Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), The Vagabond (1916), The Rink (1916) and The Immigrant (1917).

The inclusion of the three short films gives the viewer a good slice of what Chaplin’s creative progress was during his Mutual years. The Vagabond amplifies story themes that Chaplin had discovered in 1915, during his Essanay contract years. Heroic self-sacrifice now pays off in the winning of true love. The Rink represents a nod to Chaplin’s vaudeville and Keystone past, being inventive and funny slapstick throughout. But, what is going on with Edna’s party hairstyle? And, it is well known that in the story of The Immigrant Chaplin finally coalesced his comedic and poetic tendencies. The result is a funny and heart-warming mix that is a precursor to Chaplin’s masterpiece, City Lights (1931). — Carl Bennett

Laserlight Digital
1999 DVD edition

Charlie Chaplin Marathon (1914-1917), black & white, 133 minutes total, not rated
including Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, The Vagabond (1916), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, The Rink (1916), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, and The Immigrant (1917), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Laserlight Digital, DEL82028DVD, UPC 0-18111-99883-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 3 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $7.95.
Release date: 12 October 1999.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 5 / audio: 5 / additional content: 0 / overall: 5.

Budget-line home video releases are always a hit-or-miss gamble for consumers. For the money, Laserlight’s Charlie Chaplin Marathon DVD compilation is both a hit and a miss.

For our review of Tillie’s Punctured Romance visit our Tillie’s Punctured Romance on home video page. This edition is a definite miss.

For our review of The Rink see our The Rink on home video page.

On the other hand, the other Chaplin shorts on this disc are a hit (for the money). Three short comedies that Chaplin made under his Mutual Film Corporation contract have been chosen to fill out this disc. All three of the films have been transferred from 35mm prints prepared by Blackhawk Films. Each of the films features the Winston Sharples music and sound-effects soundtrack prepared by Blackhawk. The quality of the transfers, and of the sound, is comparable to the original 1980s laserdisc releases of these films. The picture image retains most of the films’ original greyscale tones and picture detail. The transfer cropping is tight but is different from the 1980s laserdiscs, indicating new transfers from the same source materials. Because each source print was from the Blackhawk sound versions (all produced at the sound film speed of 24 FPS), each of the Mutual films on this disc run noticably faster than the original camera speed of approximately 18-20 FPS. Despite the faster speed, we sometimes like to return to these older Blackhawk prints to enjoy the silly sound effects that accompany the slapstick action.

Overall, the DVD may be well worth having if you do not already own the better editions of these films, produced for home video by David Shepard, available on DVD and videotape. Certainly, the DVD is worth the less-than-ten-dollars it can be had for, despite the substandard edition of Tillie’s Punctured Romance.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Delta Entertainment
2002 DVD edition

Charlie Chaplin Marathon (1914-1917),
black & white, 133 minutes total, not rated.

Delta Entertainment, 82 365, UPC 0-18111-23659-1.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 3 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese language subtitles, chapter stops, keep case, $7.95.
Release date: 5 February 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 6 / audio: 5 / additional content: 0 / overall: 5.
This budget edition is nothing more than a 2002 repackaging of the same content reviewed above.

This one isn’t recommended either.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Other silent era CHARLES CHAPLIN films available on home video.

Other KEYSTONE comedy films available on home video.

Other SHORT COMEDY FILMS of the silent era available on home video.
Charles Chaplin filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
 
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