I have waited a long time for some restored Keystones featuring Chaplin and here they all are - apart from the lost Her Friend the Bandit (1914) - and all looking very smart thanks an army of restorers, technicians and musicians. Many of them are of historical interest only: I can take only so much brick-throwing which seemed to have amused audiences at the time. After all, if you are hit by a brick it could possibly kill you but in the silent era they caused just minor inconvenience, even when hit full in the face.
There is a lot of kicking - again too much, often to the point of tedium - but Chaplin always shows a balletic ability which is pretty graceful at all times, even when fighting.
Chaplin finely created a complete character, one often imitated but rarely bettered. As the films are in chronological order one can see how he developed very quickly. In some early films you can almost see him thinking about what he could do that would be funny - and not always succeeding. Later he knew exactly what he was doing.
One surprise for me was to find Chaplin in drag playing a woman rather than a man dressed as a woman. He's pretty good at it and very funny in the pantomime dame tradition.
As the films were shot very quickly there are more than a few rough edges but all are fascinating to watch now.
Previous video and dvd copies of these 34 films have been poor with no intertitles,fuzzy pictures and music that had nothing to do with what was on screen. Now they have new scores, intertitles wherever possible and the picture quality is pretty good considering the mangling some of the copies received over the years.The 56-page booklet is useful with each film discussed although I might suggest Glenn Mitchell's The Chaplin Encyclopedia for more information including cast lists The Charlie Chaplin Encyclopedia
The BFI have done an excellent job here and must be thanked. But one word of warning. Like a previous reviewer I found that Twenty Minutes of Love on disc one does cut off and revert to the main menu fairly early on. You get rather less than Twenty Minutes! I returned my box set to Amazon who replaced it with another but that had the same fault which obviously happened in the manufacturing process.
I have kept my box set fault and all as this remains a great collection at a bargain price.