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Robert Downey Jr takes the lead role in this biopic of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, which traces his entire career from poverty stricken childhood all the way through to final Swiss exile and lifetime Oscar recognition. Along the way there were four marriages, troubles with the US government, and a phenomenally successful film career. Directed by Richard Attenborough.
Chaplin, Sir Richard Attenborough's biographical film of the life and times of the famous comic, is a little thin as a narrative, but it is so charmingly creative and ultimately moving that it's hard to worry about the deficits. Robert Downey Jr does an excellent job re-creating Chaplin's graceful slapstick and getting inside the silent-film superstar's head over the years of triumph, defeat, scandal, official persecution, exile and inner peace. A huge cast portray the allies, friends, lovers and enemies in Chaplin's life, including Moira Kelly as his final, long-time wife Oona, Kevin Kline as Douglas Fairbanks, Geraldine Chaplin as Charlie's mother and James Woods as a prosecutor working hard to nail Chaplin for anti-American sentiments. Attenborough declines to tell the story in a flat, linear way, employing such clever techniques as detailing one chapter in Chaplin's life as a silent comedy. The climactic scene set at an Oscar tribute for Chaplin will get the tears flowing. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Robert Downey Jr is outstanding as Chaplin and really did a great job. I found him particularly effective when he portrayed Chaplin as an older man and he deserves the many plaudits that he received for his performance. Many, many women played a part in Chaplin's life and there is screen time given to several ladies although many of the appearances are brief. For me the actresses that made the most impact were Geraldine Chaplin as his mother Hannah and Marisa Tomei as Mabel Normand. A curious piece of casting was Moira Kelly in the dual roles of Hetty Kelly and Ooona O' Neil. This did appear a little odd but perhaps the director chose the same person as the first and last loves of Chaplin's life in order to give the movie some sense of balance. Still, what do I know?
There is a nice sense of period and a very effective musical score from John Barry. The reason it falls short of five stars is that I just wanted to see more of Chaplin's movie making process and also a little more of Downey Jr as the tramp. Still, as stated earlier, this is really a movie about his private life and I did like the ending with a very insecure Chaplin listening to laughter and applause as he waited in the wings to receive a special Oscar. This is a good movie and quite possibly underrated with a lead performance that is extremely impressive.
'Chaplin' is a touching film that tells the icon's life story in a memorable and sometimes hilarious way. Richard Attenborough tackled an awesome project and it was never going to be easy - but he pulls it off brilliantly. Yes, it flies through important periods like 'Monsieur Verdoux' and 'Limelight' - not to mention Chaplin's return to London film-making. However, these scenes were almost shot but removed later. Edna, Chaplin's leading lady in the early days is also under-used, but these are minor quibbles - the film is beautiful and everything you want from a biopic.
The casting of Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic; I cannot imagine anyone else pulling this job off any better. There are scenes in which you can easily be forgiven for believing that you are seeing the real Charlie. Having Chaplin's real-life daughter, Geraldine, play her own grandmother gives the film the family-seal-of-approval that was essential for this to work. Her performance is tragic and inspiring in equal measure.
Anyway, this wasn't going to be a review of the film, but the Blu-Ray.
First, the bad points:
- The DVDs I owned (both US and UK) ten years ago had an entire chocolate box of extras. Documentaries, on-set interviews with the cast. Some of it was repetitive, but extremely interesting nonetheless. This Blu-Ray has NO extras. Not even a trailer. Could they not even have got the always fascinating biographer David Robinson in to do a commentary track? Apparently not.
- The audio is merely stereo.Read more ›
The tag line that accompanied the film on its original cinematic release really does sum Chaplin up ; 'He made the whole world laugh & cry. He will again'. Pure genius.
Chaplin obviously tells the story of one of the UK's most famous entertainers (Who ironically spent a great deal of his life in the US). From his humble beginnings in the poverty of Victorian London to his rise to become the most famous man on the planet at the time, to his fall from grace at the hands of America's communist paranoia, right up until his final years where he accepts a lifetime achievement award from The Academy. Today, he is known by his still-hilarious silent films and his comedy character The Little Tramp, but like many great comedians, he was a complex and sad man deep down.
The film spans almost all of the man's 88-year life, and the viewer really gets a feeling of a large space of time passing without ever becoming tired of the film (which is around two hours and twenty minutes long). This is partly because the events, locations and activities of Chaplin were many and pretty varied. Most of his life story is told as he relates his story to his biographer (Sir Anthony Hopkins). He engages in a great many relationships with different women, particularly younger ones. His career is also long and varied, starting out as a comic at the Hackney Empire, branching out into a silent film star, moving into "talkies", writing the musical Modern Times and co-forming United Artists Pictures.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A sweeping account of Chaplin's life and character. Each actor seemed perfectly cast for their role, not just Robert Downey Jr, but also Kevin Dunn, Anthony Hopkins & Paul Rhys. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lee09
EXCELLENT PRODUCT AS DESCRIBED. I WOULD PURCHASE FROM IN THE FUTURE.Published 5 months ago by Trevor Larsen