Narrated by Sydney Pollack, film critic Richard Schickel's dazzling two-hour plus documentary to one of the towering figures in film: Charles Chaplin. Hardcore Chaplin fans may not find ... See full summary »
Narrated by Sydney Pollack, film critic Richard Schickel's dazzling two-hour plus documentary to one of the towering figures in film: Charles Chaplin. Hardcore Chaplin fans may not find much new material here, but more unfamiliar admirers will gain some valuable information about one of the most famous personalities of the 20th century. Schickel has constructed the documentary as a chronological survey of Chaplin's work, starting with his most significant shorts and covering all of his features. Schickel supports his narration with testimony from artists familiar with Chaplin's work and family members who offer personal insights into the comedian's life. The documentary plays down but doesn't ignore the controversies that swirled around Chaplin's private life. But the main focus is on the films. They include some of the best-loved movies of all time. Clips from "Kid Auto Races at Venice," the 1914 Keystone short in which Chaplin first used his Tramp costume, reveal a startlingly ... Written by
Chaplin is a cultural icon. No question about that. So what do you do? Get some old footage, both from his movies and from other sources, combine that with footage of historians and modern celebrities talking about their impressions on the man. The concept is far from original. Basically it's the same as any number of documentaries.
The movie manages to include all the important work of Chaplin in it. However, there's no information that most people with any interest on the subject wouldn't know and how many people who are not interested on the subject would watch a movie like this?
Maybe I've just seen too many of these. Of course, I appreciate and respect the work of the man, but I just don't see the point of these little documentaries anymore. Using at least just a little bit of creativity would have been nice. If I was to do a movie about an icon I love, I would at least try to do him or her justice and set the movie apart from others. It's not all bad, just kind of mediocre.
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