|Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, and Albert Austin in The Rink. Click to enlarge.|
A Lobster Films screener dvd viewed at home, 28 April 2014
A lovely documentary produced for Arte to celebrate the centenary of The Tramp.
The story has been often told, but I relish this version where all the participants are so clearly enjoying the task at hand.
There are several wonderful montages. The opening and end credit montages focus on Chaplin's balletic prowess. The early London montages are exciting (Mitchell & Kenyon?). The music hall montages help understand the great tradition from which Chaplin rose. The Keystone montages illustrate slapstick. The Essanay montages demonstrate the birth of deep feeling in Chaplin's comedy. And the Mutual montages display the freedom of invention. Included is some delicious Mutual outtakes footage which was celebrated in Kevin Brownlow's The Unknown Chaplin series.
Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange make an interesting emphasis on the fact that the character of The Tramp evolved during the First World War. Significantly, this year, we are celebrating the centenary of The Tramp - and mourning the centenary of the First World War from which we have never really recovered. Chaplin realized early on that great comedy is not far from fear, danger, and horror.
EVEN ROUGHER NOTES BEYOND THE JUMP BREAK