Using in part rare out-take footage, the film-making methods and techniques of Charles Chaplin are explored.
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1  
1986   1983  
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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...
 Narrator / ... (3 episodes, 1983)
Hans-Joachim Kulenkampff ...
 Narrator (German Version) (3 episodes, 1983)
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Storyline

A documentary from silent film historians Kevin Brownlow and David Gill. Featuring never before seen out-takes from Chaplin's films, and other rare footage, Unknown Chaplin gives a valuable insight into the creation of Chaplin's films. Also included are interviews with people who knew and worked with Chaplin. The documentary is in three parts: My Happiest Years; Hidden Treasures; and The Great Director. Accompanied by excellent music by Carl Davis, some adapted from Chaplin's own music. Written by Sean Blake <seanpb@eagle.cc.ukans.edu>

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Release Date:

14 July 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der unbekannte Chaplin  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Those actors not marked uncredited were credited by the narrator or by subtitles. See more »

Connections

References City Lights (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Title Theme
from The Kid (1921)
Written by Charles Chaplin
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User Reviews

 
A must-see for Chaplin fans and movie historians
21 June 2007 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I picked up a DVD of this British series from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and it's fitting that a filmmaker be featured prominently in an art gallery--especially since this film isn't a biography of Chaplin, but a step-by-step analysis of his working style. They did this by collecting outtakes that had been saved by Mutual Studios as well as through photos and even home movies. At first, I thought this all sounded very dry but as the film continued I realized what a great treasure this is. What I liked in particular was how they took two of his earlier non-Keystone comedies and analyzed the many, many changes the film underwent thanks to Chaplin's obsessive-compulsive film style. Considering what a gift he had for making films, this lengthy style of constructing films is forgivable and even understandable.

In addition to analyzing his shorts, the documentary also chooses to analyze CITY LIGHTS as well as THE GOLD RUSH and provides many behind the scenes insights. I really liked this, since GOLD RUSH might just be my very favorite silent film (though it's hard to say for sure, considering some of the great films of Lloyd and Keaton).

All-in-all, this is an absolute must for serious film students, historians and lovers of silent comedy. Considering all the pain and trouble they went to in making this film, it's no surprise that it earns a 10 of 10.

FYI--Fortunately, while this is a nearly perfect film about Chaplin, there are also two wonderful similar documentaries about Harold Lloyd ("American Masters", Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius) and Buster Keaton (Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow)--both written by the same two writers who made this wonderful film. See them all if you get a chance!!

Also FYI--On the DVD is a 12 minute segment on how they assembled all the footage for the documentaries. It's worth a look to give you insight into this very laborious process.


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