|Index||5 reviews in total|
My understanding is that Chalie Chaplin made this film in 1918 to show
the First National Picture Corporation when he signed to produce movies
with them. Chaplin would cover all costs of making the movies and in
return receive $125,000 per picture plus 50% of the revenues.
The loose structure of the film is that a genie has granted Charlie one wish, which he uses to create a film studio. We then follow Charlie as he goes about filming and editing his next picture.
Highlights for me are the rehearsal scene and when Charlie dresses up like the little tramp to do some on location filming at a golf course.
This film truly plays like a "Behind The Scenes" feature from 1918. While all the situations are staged for comic effect. It is still interesting to see the day-to-day behind the scenes activities such as negatives being developed.
The version I watched was Bonus Material on The Chaplin Revue DVD put out by Warner Bros. It had no musical score which really hampered the film. Overall, worth a watch, but far, far from Chaplin's best.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is often not thought of as one to be included in Chaplin's filmography, but it is a historical record of a brief inside look in Chaplin's studios. Here the film originates with a genie granting a wish for a film studio, which materializes before our eyes. The film was released in early 1918 before Chaplin's first picture for the First National Corporation: A Dog's Life. Behind the scenes footage includes many of Chaplin's stock company, such as Edna Purviance and Henry Bergman. Other footage has Chaplin simply walking around his studios, eating a lemon, looking at his mail, getting into character, and playfully interacting with his stock company. The most interesting aspect of the film illustrates the film processing procedure circa 1918. There are several scenes on a golf course with Chaplin in character interacting with others or by himself. One of these scenes contains what looks to be the last footage of comic foil Eric Campbell who died in December 1917 in an auto accident. The film is not really a Chaplin film per se, but it's an interesting, historic curio in a home movie vein. **1/2 of 4 stars.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Like Maurice Tourneur's "A Girl's Folly" (which only exists in
fragmentary form), this is very interesting just as a look into the
insides of a movie studio in the 1910s. Since the studio in question is
Charlie Chaplin's studio where he ended up making films for UA (and
where many producers made films for years afterward), it has
considerable historical significance.
However the film itself is only amusing for a few chuckles. There's a rather clichéd bit at the end with Chaplin on a golf course. It looks to me like the course in Griffith Park, which is fascinating because it looks different than it does now. A lot more like they just stuck the course down in the middle of the desert. The funniest scene is a brief one where Chaplin is rehearsing his actors and actresses. He keeps showing how to beat up another guy, and the poor guy has to chase after his hat after Chaplin knocks it off and then again after the other actor knocks it off.
It's pretty interesting to see Chaplin as such a young man without his mustache -- which is referred to in a title card before he applies it to do his routine as the "Million Dollar Moustache". He looks very handsome here without the 'stache. It's also interesting how "friendly" he is with his secretary and his actresses. At one point he is fussing with his actress' curled hair and momentarily puts the curl in his mouth as if to suck on it.
Won't be highly interesting to anyone except Chaplin fans and old time movie fans, but I liked it.
This short was an extra from the Chaplin Collection DVD set from Warner Brothers. Since it is an extra, it lacks the music of the rest of the shorts on the DVD and the clips, though interesting, seem much more like a home movie than anything else. While it is interesting to see Chaplin without his makeup and him laughing it up with the crew, it isn't exactly a movie or a short--just an interesting curio. This "filmette" is of more interest from a historical point of view than anything else. It certainly isn't that entertaining and cannot really be compared to his regular theatrical releases. Plus, the film provides very few laughs as there are only a few mildly amusing segments in the film.
How to Make Movies (1918)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Charles Chaplin stars in, wrote, produced and directed this short film that doesn't completely live up to the title but it is interesting nonetheless. The film starts off showing Chaplin's studio being built in a time lapse and from here we see Chaplin taking us on what's basically a tour of the studio. This includes a few staged jokes including him catching some laborers sleeping and there's a sequence where a pool is being filled up and of course they get the star wet with the hose. HOW TO MAKE MOVIES isn't really about making movies and there's no doubt that it drags on a little bit but I think fans of Chaplin should enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at his studio. One of the best moments happen when we see Chaplin getting into his Tramp outfit and "turning" himself into the character. Overall this is mainly going to appeal to Chaplin fans who will enjoy seeing this type of stuff. As a "film" its not really impressive as the majority of the jokes don't work and the pacing is just so off where it really seems as if many scenes are missing.
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