I fell in love with Charlie Chaplin at the age of 10, and it has been a lifelong love affair.
So you can imagine the sheer delight when I received this handsome box set in the mail from Amazon. The press release stated the set will allow you to "experience the wonder, the laughter, the magic and the genius of the world's first superstar in a way no audience has experienced them before" and there's nothing more truthful. For the first time we have all of Chaplin's major feature films together, along with an unprecedented treasure trove of special features. MK2's obvious passion for Chaplin comes shining through with these stunning restorations and their neatly presented documentaries. Really, the films are in absolutely pristine condition. The quality of the prints- specifically with The Kid and A Woman of Paris- give no hint that they are over 80 years old. (Someone in an earlier review commented that they look as though they have been shot yesterday, and that is no exaggeration.)
And as with all DVDs, there are plenty of extras that make for endless hours of entertainment and (more commonly) education. For Chaplin fans, the extras are a dream come true because we finally get to see what we've only read about for years: The famous home movie Nice and Friendly with Lord and Lady Mountbatten, his 1918 film How to Make Movies showing the building of the Chaplin Studios on La Brea Avenue, the original 1925 SILENT VERSION of The Gold Rush with the original ending which must have been painstaking to restore, the brilliant deleted scene for The Circus with Charlie and Rex on a lunch date with Merna, another brilliant outtake for City Lights with Charlie's attempt to get a bit of wood out of a grate in the sidewalk, **twenty-five** fascinating minutes of COLOR behind-the-scenes footage from the shooting of The Great Dictator, and there's literally HOURS more where that came from.
Also included is the very well done Schickel documentary Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin. It's full of Hollywood heavyweights (Narrated by the great Sydney Pollack!) including Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, Milos Forman, Robert Downey Jr., Johnny Depp, Geraldine Chaplin, Sir Richard Attenborough- even Marcel Marceau! It spans his entire career from Keystone to Vevey and is a fair, honest and lovingly tended biography of this timeless genius. The documentary concludes with the words "he was a flawed man. . . that is to say, he was human. . . with the uncanny ability to reflect humanity back at us. . ."
Those are indeed fitting closing words to a lovely documentary, in an exceptional Box set for this remarkable man.