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"Chaplin's Mutual Comedies"

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/chaplin.htm
USA 1916-17

The Floorwalker (1916)                          The Fireman (1916)                         The Vagabond (1916)
One A.M. (1916)                                   The Count (1916)                             The Pawnshop (1916)

Behind the Screen (1916)                        The Rink (1916)                                    Easy Street (1917)
The Cure (1917)                                The Immigrant (1917)                          The Adventurer (1917)

 

BFI Package Description: Charlie Chaplin entered the film industry in 1914 and by 1916 was the highest paid entertainer in the world after signing a contract with the Mutual Film Corporation for a salary of $670,000. Mutual built Chaplin his very own studio and allowed him total freedom to make 12 two-reel films during a 12-month period, which have been brought together for the first time on this two-disc box set. Chaplin subsequently recognized this period of film-making as the most inventive and liberating of his career.

These twelve films demonstrate the breadth of Chaplin's abilities as both a physical slapstick actor and a subtle, endearing character actor. The collection includes the slapstick custard pie fights of Behind the Screen and his first minor masterpiece, The Vagabond, where he successfully combines pathos and comedy to create a lyrical love story.

This limited edition
Blu-ray collection of Chaplin films has been fully restored and features music by acclaimed silent film composer Carl Davis.

***

The Mutual Film Corporation built Charles Chaplin his own studio and he entered a fruitful twelve-month period which he acknowledged to be one of the most inventive and liberating of his career. Chaplin had full control over casting, scripting and directing. This Blu-ray Collection contains all 12 of his Mutual Comedies. The resourceful and enduring character of the "The Tramp" is seen in the early years of his evolution. It is easy to see the painstaking detail Chaplin went to to produce these gems of cinema that we still hold with immense appeal value almost 100 years later.

Gary W. Tooze

In 1916, Charlie Chaplin became the highest paid entertainer in the world when he signed a contract with Mutual for a salary of $670,000 per year. Mutual built Chaplin his very own studio and allowed him total freedom to make twelve two-reel films during this fruitful twelve-month period. Chaplin subsequently recognized this period of film-making as the most inventive and liberating of his career, although he also had concerns that the films produced were increasingly formulaic during the length of his contract.

During 1916 and 1917, the Lone Star Film Company had Charlie Chaplin working at their studio at 1025 Lillian Way, in Hollywood. Charlie Chaplin moved on to found United Artists in 1919 with Mary Pickford, D. W. Griffith, and Douglas Fairbanks. In 1919, Mutual Film Corporation ceased production. Like many other companies established at this time, Mutual was eventually absorbed by larger corporations, in this case Film Booking Offices of America and later RKO Radio Pictures.

With the exception of the Chaplin films, most of the Mutual shorts and feature dramas are lost to time and decompostion.

Wikipedia

Posters

Theatrical: 1916-1917

DVD Reviews

 

DVD Review: BFI (Limited Edition) -  Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

In Continental Europe a Spanish edition exists - Reviewed HERE:

   

Also released by Flicker Alley on Blu-ray:

Distribution BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
NTSC DVD releases:

(CLICK Covers for more info)

       

Runtime approx. 2::42:05+ 2:37:03 plus extras
  Blu-ray One Blu-ray Two
Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,182,416,817 bytes

Features: around 7.3 Gig (average)

Video Bitrate:28.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video / 23.976 fps

 

The Floorwalker (1916) (28:25)
The Fireman (1916) (26:28)
The Vagabond (1916) (26:50)
One A.M. (1916)
The Count (1916)
The Pawnshop (1916)

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,926,962,221 bytes

Features: around 7.8 Gig (average)

Video Bitrate: 31.75 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video / 23.976 fps

 

Behind the Screen (1916)
The Rink (1916)
Easy Street (1917)
The Cure (1917)
The Immigrant (1917)
The Adventurer (1917)

 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Disc 1 Blu-ray Bitrate:

 

 

Disc 2 Blu-ray Bitrate:

 

 

Audio Carl Davis score - and alternative scores for each film by a range of composers (see below) - all in:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Commentaries: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Intertitles Intertitles have been reconstructed according to the original Mutual title cards and documents of the Library of Congress
Features

Release Information:
Studio: BFI

Aspect Ratio:
Around 1.33 :1 (some rounded corners)

Blu-ray Release Date: May 18th, 2015
Thick
Blu-ray Case

Audio commentaries for all 12 films (see listing below)

Blu-ray Disc One Extras:

Newsreel shorts: Chaplin Signs the Mutual Contract(1916, 0:34)

 

Blu-ray Disc two Extras:
; Charlie on the Ocean (1921, 5:12)
Carl Davis interview (9:19)
Extensive booklet with essays and full film credits

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (May 2015): Firstly, let's make some comments on the Spanish package reviewed HERE. It is 1080i and this BFI edition is 1080P. The UK bitrate is about 50% higher and it is slightly darker with better layered contrast. But while I didn't notice significant difference in the stills of The Floorwalker, I certainly did with The Rink (see below) and it makes me think that The Rink and Easy Street on the Divisa Spanish BD were not from the 2013 restoration. It now looks like 720 blown-up. The BFI transfer, on the other hand, is definitely superior - in a minor way in most films but dramatically with others. The times are slightly different because the Divisa is transferred at 25 fps and BFI at 23.976 fps. The BFI offers multiple scores (2 alternates per film) and each film has a commentary. The Divisa only has the Carl Davis scores (which are also as the default option on all the BFI Mutual films transfers).

 

NOTE: Michael J. Hayde (author of CHAPLIN'S VINTAGE YEAR: The History of the Mutual-Chaplin Specials) tells us in email: "You are correct that the transfers of THE RINK and EASY STREET are completely different on the BFI release than on the Divisa Spanish set. They are from completely different sources, and the only reason the older transfers for those two appear on the Spanish (and Italian) set is that the new transfers weren't ready yet. The new transfers do appear on the Flicker Alley set." (Thanks Michael!)

 

The 12 films have all been restored and the specifics of each restoration are outlined in a text screen before each film. As an example - this is the text before The Floorwalker ... which has been restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Lobster Films, from safety fine grain preserved at The Museum of Modern Art. Some fragments were added from a nitrate print preserved at Cinemateque Royale de Belgique. Intertitles have been reconstructed according to the original Mutual title cards and documents of the Library of Congress. The surviving elements come from two different negatives. Negative A was restored whenever possible whole negative B was used to reconstruct missing or severely damaged shots. Restoration work was carried out at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in 2013.

 

There are also screens stating support from Amitabh Bachchan, The George Lucas Family Foundation and the Material World Charitable Foundation (among others).

 

The above supports David Shepard's statements from late 2013: "On almost all of the films, we had multiple elements from both A and B negatives. There are differences between them. Almost everything we used was a first generation full aperture 35mm nitrate print. All were scanned at 2K, edited together with new reproduction 1916-1917 intertitle cards, and digitally restored and repaired on a Phoenix Revival system. (The new main titles are not reproductions and clearly identify the films as modern restorations). We used A negative sources unless a shot was obviously missing, incomplete or badly damaged, in which case we substituted the most similar shot from a B negative source. What we did not do is conflate the A and B versions to make a longer film than was originally released in either neg version."

 

Every film has a Carl Davis score PLUS other audio options;


The Floorwalker offers an alternate score by Gabriel Thibaudreau or a score with improvisational piano by Antonio Coppola. The commentary on The Floorwalker is by Frank Scheide.
The Fireman offers Fotoplayer music and effects by Robert Israel or with the music of Neil Brand. The commentary is by Glenn Mitchell.
The Vagabond offered with the music of The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra or a score with improvisational piano by Antonio Coppola. The commentary on The Vagabond is by Glenn Mitchell.
One A.M. offers an alternate score by Gabriel Thibaudreau. The commentary on One A.M. is by Dan Kamin.
The Count offers music by Donald Sosin, Peter Breiner and Richard A. Whiting. The commentary on The Count is by Frank Scheide.
The Pawnshop offers and alternate score by Winston Sharples and Gene Rodemich OR a score with improvisational piano by Donald Sosin. The commentary on The Pawnshop is by Dan Kamin.
Behind the Screen can be heard with a score by Robert Israel or a score with improvisational piano by Antonio Coppola. The commentary on Behind the Screen is by Hooman Mehran.
The Rink has an alternate score by Antonio Coppola OR a score with improvisational piano by Maud Nelissen. The commentary on The Rink is by Hooman Mehran.

Easy Street is also offered with the music of Neil Brand OR a score with improvisational piano by Donald Sosin. The commentary on Easy Street is by Bryony Dixon.
The Cure has an alternate score by Stephen Horne OR a score with improvisational piano by Maud Nelissen. The commentary on The Cure is by Glenn Mitchell.
The Immigrant is also offered with the music of Timothy Brock OR a score with improvisational piano by Donald Sosin. The commentary on The Immigrant is by Michael Hayde.
The Adventurer has the music of Robert Israel or with the music or the improvisational piano of Neil Brand. The commentary is by Carl Davis.

 

Every score is in linear PCM in 2.0 channel mono at 1536 kbps. All commentaries are in simple Dolby.

Both Blu-ray discs are dual-layered. You can see the image quality below - it, of course, varies but overall looks super. It looks outstanding in-motion (as good as it does in the below stills.) There is some expected contrast flickering and scratches, a few missed frames - but overall so impressive.

Blu-ray Disc One we get a brief newsreel short of Chaplin Signs the Mutual Contract from 1916. On Blu-ray Disc two we get the 1921 effort, Charlie on the Ocean running just over 5-minutes and a 10-minute Carl Davis interview. The package has an extensive booklet with essays and full film credits.

I don't own the US, Flicker Alley, Blu-ray release, although I have heard some negatives but we should compare at some stage. This BFI release is amazing - no Chaplin fan should be without it. It's a valid reason to purchase a region FREE player is you are region 'A'-locked. One of the best sets of the entire year, IMO.           

 Gary W. Tooze





Menus

Blu-ray One

 

 

Blu-ray Two

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Inter-title Sample

 

1) Divisa - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

The Floorwalker (1916)

 

1) Divisa - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Divisa - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

The Fireman (1916)

 

 

 


 

The Vagabond (1916)

 

 

 


 

One A.M. (1916)

 

 

 


The Count (1916)

 

 

 


 

The Pawnshop (1916)

 

 

 


 

Behind the Screen (1916)

 

 

 


 

The Rink (1916)

 

1) Divisa - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Divisa - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

Easy Street (1917)

 

 

 


 

The Cure (1917)

 

 

 


 

The Immigrant (1917)

 

 

 


 

The Adventurer (1917)

 

 

 


Recommended Reading on Chaplin (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


 

Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

In Continental Europe a Spanish edition exists - Reviewed HERE:

   

Also released by Flicker Alley on Blu-ray:

Distribution BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze