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Early Charlie Chaplin: The Artist as Apprentice at Keystone Studios by [Neibaur, James L.]
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Early Charlie Chaplin: The Artist as Apprentice at Keystone Studios Kindle Edition

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Length: 251 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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The cottage industry of publishing books on Charlie Chaplin continues to prosper with this book, which is a worthy and enjoyable addition. Going back to Chaplin's roots, before his work at the Essanay Studios, film historian James Neibaur catalogs more than three dozen early silent films the master comedian and director did for studio producer Mack Sennett. Though he does not unearth any new information or insights, the author does correct stubbornly persistent errors, and he scripts his own fresh, readable, and helpful chronicle of Chaplin's evolution as a film artist. Beginning with Chaplin's cameo as a wily city slicker in Making a Living, the work covers Chaplin's films in chronological order through the six-reel comedy with Marie Dressler, Tillie's Punctured Romance, noting credits, cast, general plot outlines, comic scenes, slapstick gags, and some contemporaneous reviews. This book offers an honest, homespun, and pleasurable tour through the novice era of an amazing film comedian. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; technical students; professionals; general readers. CHOICE

About the Author

James L. Neibaur is a film historian and educator who has written several books on film, including Arbuckle and Keaton: Their 14 Film Collaborations (2005), Chaplin at Essanay: A Film Artist in Transition, 1915-1916 (2008), and The Fall of Buster Keaton (Scarecrow, 2010).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 25578 KB
  • Print Length: 251 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press (30 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0076M4R8Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,420,163 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x90de93cc) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9172af00) out of 5 stars Excellent History of a Remarkable Year in Film 10 Mar. 2016
By Eric Schultz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent overview and analysis of the films that Chaplin made at Keystone, during his first year in film. It gives you the history of the films and how they were received in 1914, when they were first released, plus the author gives in-depth commentary on each film's content. He points out any details which are worth noticing, and it makes you want to go back and re-watch the films themselves. Overall, this is a very well-written study of Chaplin's first films. Anyone interested in early film comedy in general will find the book very interesting.

In only one year, Charlie Chaplin, a theatrical performer with no prior experience in film, learned the craft of filmmaking. He not only developed a sense of how to perform for the camera, but he learned all the various aspects of filmmaking, so that he would be directing and editing his own films within only a few months of his first day at the Keystone studio. James Neibaur gives us both the story of Chaplin's year at Keystone, and a perceptive commentary on the films themselves. He discusses both what is noteworthy about them, as well as their drawbacks. His book gives us the most complete list of each film's cast and crew, as well as biographical information about the many people who worked with Chaplin at Keystone. He has done an excellent job in researching and writing this book, and I am very glad to have read it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x903a67a4) out of 5 stars Excellent Study 21 Feb. 2012
By gary shapiro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
James L. Neibaur, whose previous books include a survey of Buster Keaton's sound films and the work of Jerry Lewis, has now written this expertly done study of Charles Chaplin's tenure at Keystone, Mack Sennett's studio. These films have recently been restored and that makes this book the most complete look at this important period in Chaplin's creative rise. If you are interested in silent film comedy this book is well worth your time and money.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90443c0c) out of 5 stars Embryionic Artist Restored to His Fomer Glory 7 Jun. 2012
By Debra Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
James L. Neibaur, the author who shed much welcome light on the underrated films Charles Chaplin made in 1915 for the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company, has made another valuable contribution to cinema history, this time focusing on the even earlier Chaplin films--his first, in fact--made for the Keystone film company in 1914. These 36 films (one of which was discovered by film historian Paul Gierucki only recently) have often received a bad rap for being crudely made and in a very poor state of preservation (one still remains lost as of this writing). That unfortunate reputation has changed considerably in the last year or so, with Flicker Alley's outstanding four-disc collection,"Chaplin at Keystone," featuring all of the surviving films of that period. Each DVD contains the carefully restored shorts (and one feature, "Tillie's Punctured Romance") done by the British Film Institute. In addition to the improved pictorial quality, what the collection shows is the rapid progress Chaplin made as an actor and, especially, as a director. As he later wrote, he learned a great deal from his brief but prolific tenure at Keystone, just as Keystone had learned a great deal from him. Chaplin's subtle approach and sensitive direction allowed him to make some of the greatest comedy-dramas of all time, including "The Gold Rush" (1925) and "City Lights" (1931). This, Mr. Neibaur makes clear, would not have been possible without his training at Mack Sennett's rowdy "Fun Factory."

If you want to treat yourself to a genuine piece of comedy film history, I strongly recommend that you purchase the "Chaplin at Keystone" DVD collection as well as James L. Neibaur's authoritative book, "Early Charlie Chaplin: Artist as Apprentice." After all the years of infamy, the Chaplin Keystones are finally receiving their due.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90385228) out of 5 stars Early Chaplin, the foundation of The Tramp 11 Mar. 2012
By Anne M Keady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Due to the restoration of Charlie Chaplin's early films with Essanay (of which the author wrote an excellent book "Chaplin at Essanay, Film Artist in Transition; 1915-1916) and his Keystones there has been a renewed interest in these early films which are really the foundation and the beginnings of the tramp's evolution.

Many people are familiar with Chaplin's Mutuals (his masterpieces of his shorts, First National (A Dog's Life, Shoulder Arms and The Kid), United Artists (The Gold rush, City Lights, Modern Times) but his early films (34 with Keystone & 14 with Essanay) have been largely ignored, this is in large part due to the fact most of these films before restoration were in deplorable condition in the public domain. Charlie Chaplin's artistry as it fully evolved was one of subtleties which due to the condition of these films was hard to appreciate and a strain to watch.

James Neibaur book "Early Charlie Chaplin" gives you a breakdown which is easy to follow and brings to light some things that were widely believed but not true.

Each chapter gives you the original title, also some of the titles they may have been known by as some were renamed upon being re released, films location, (many Keystones were at actual events in the area) , dates they were filmed, dates of the first American release, Keystone players and most interesting to note - directors, it was widely assumed even by Chaplin himself who speaks of this in his autobiography that from his tenth Keystone film (of which there were 34) "Twenty Minutes of Love" outside of Tillie's Punctured Romance" Charlie would direct the remaining approximately 70 films in his career.

James Neibaur's review and his resources tells a different story as to who directed , by camera placement, story structure and pace he is able to show who actually may have directed the film and many were Mack Sennett himself. Mack Sennett's Keystones were known to be fast paced and frantic in nature..

James Neibaur critiques which are the greats of his Keystones and the throw aways, I have viewed each of the Keystones, some once or twice other several and James Neibaur's assessment is really spot on.

As I read a review I have gone back and watched the film for scenes that he has highlighted, it is really enjoyable looking for these, some I did in fact miss, in a lot of Chaplin's films I sometimes notice something that I had not previously. As the tramp progressed he included more and more subtleties and subversive thoughts in his films that you really need to watch in order to catch.

A really fun fact that James Neibaur unfolded for me:
Peggy Pierce was a Keystone girl and Charlie had a short time chaste love affair with her. In his auto-biography he speaks to this:

"The moment we met we ignited; it was mutual, and my heart sang. How romantic were those morning's turning up for work with the anticipation of seeing her each day"

I had seen pictures of Peggy Pearce and she was known to be in his film "His Favorite Pastime" but in that film she had a hat on and was difficult to see her face.

In his Keystone "A Film Johnnie" Charlie plays a man that is crazy in love with the Keystone girl, he goes to watch a movie, thinks what is on screen is real, causes a ruckus in the movie theater, he promptly goes to the studio to save her, causes all kinds of problems as only the tramp can. The actress credited in that role was Virginia Kirtley but James Neibaur notes that it was Peggy Pearce. You get to see Charlie's reaction to her on screen in the movie theater, in the studio she comes and stands right next to him, he swoons at her presence and I don't think he was acting, he sits a watches a scene at the studio, she is getting roughed up by a villain so Charlie has to come to her rescue. Just a little bit of information I enjoyed and what makes James Neibur's book so enjoyable.

Whether you have seen the Keystone films or not, this wonderful book will make you go out and get them or make you go back and view them again. James Neibaur has done a book on Chaplin's Essanay films and now his Keystone's; I hope in the future he writes a book on his reviews of the Mutuals and beyond.

A must have for anyone interested in the Artistic evolution of Charlie Chaplin.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9172ac9c) out of 5 stars Beautiful 20 Feb. 2015
By Reg Hartt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well worth reading and studying.
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