Film enthusiasts are totally indebted to Network, Thames and Fremantle for providing on DVD not only this unbelievably valuable compendium on the artistry of one of the greats of the silent film era, but also for its releasing the work of another giant of the time (Buster Keaton).
To be able to glimpse the thought processes and evolution behind some of the most famous of Chaplin's films is truly to glimpse something of the creative process that most people do not know of or can scarcely imagine. Yet as this excellent series demonstrates, the most 'natural' or 'spontanaeous' scenes are the result of incredible amounts of hard work, and demonstrate what happens to make something truly classic, and irreplaceable.
As valuable as the outtakes comprising Part 1 are, it is Part 2 that will illustrate most vividly what made such classics as 'The Gold Rush' 'The Kid', and most of all, 'City Lights' so memorable and innovative. Part 3 is entitled 'Hidden Treasures' and says it all.
In addition to excellent behind-the-scenes additional features, this features excellent narration from James Mason and an absolutely unforgettable adaptation of Chaplin's own music by the brilliant Carl Davis, a composer long underappreciated in the United States.
If you are in doubt about whether to get this or not, see the last ten minutes of Part 2 where the final scene of 'City Lights' is shown, followed by a segue to the credits that will bring tears to the eyes of ANY film enthusiast with ANY hint of romanticism in their soul! I last saw this special about 15 years ago but had always remembered this moment, and it remains as compelling and magical as ever.