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Category:    Home > Reviews > Biopic > Biography > Filmmaking > Politics > Chaplin: 15th Anniversary Edition (1992/Lionsgate DVD)

Chaplin: 15th Anniversary Edition (1992/Lionsgate DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B     Film: B+



There is little dispute when it comes to naming the most significant pioneers of cinema, the name Charlie Chaplin is pretty synonymous with being the early pioneer of the medium and not only has much been written about him, but there have been numerous documentaries as well, but Richard Attenborough’s 1992 feature film Chaplin is perhaps one of the most interesting biographies, especially with the brilliant portrayal of Charlie Chaplin by none other than Robert Downey Jr.  This is the type of role that if Jr. was able to stay clear from drugs long enough would not only place him into the upper crust of the elite character actors, but would also establish him as a human being you wouldn’t mind hanging out with.  It’s a shame that drugs ruin so much talent. 


Likewise, Charlie Chaplin also lived a rather troubled life as well, which this film ultimately explores in marvelous fashion without being too facetious.  The film also stars a huge lineup of other great talents like Moira Kelly, Dan Aykroyd, Marisa Tomei, Penelope Ann Miller, Kevin Kline, Milla Jovovich, Diane Lane, Anthony Hopkins, and even Geraldine Chaplin, who plays Hannah Chaplin in the film.  Another great film to check out is Peter Bogdanovich’s The Cat’s Meow, which features Eddie Izzard as the great Charlie Chaplin and is a great companion piece to this film. 


Lionsgate knows that this film is great and that people still appreciate the genius of Chaplin and this film allows for a greater appreciate of just that.  They believe in this film still and have decided to issue it onto DVD as a 15th Anniversary Special Edition, which includes some great extras and improved technical aspects.


The film is presented in a 1.78 X 1 anamorphic transfer, which is a slight upgrade from the previous non-anamorphic transfer of the film that was released way back in 1998…10 years ago at the time of this review.  Technology has come quite a way in the DVD world since then, so it’s great to see a film updated a bit here.  The presentation is solid with good color, nice contrast, and overall pleasing darks and whites.  A bit of softness is noticed throughout as well as a degree or two of resolution that seems to make the film a little less sharp, but we are working with compression limitations on a standard definition format like DVD, so the Blu-ray will potentially correct this.  The sound is a simple 2.0 stereo mix that works well for the material and is sufficient for now. 


The extras are the real novelty here as we get three featurettes that were not issued before, they are: Strolling Into the Sunset, Chaplin the Hero, and the Most Famous Man in the World.  Also included is a short film that is from Chaplin’s home movie collection, plus the theatrical trailer. 


Chaplin’s work continues to appreciate as time goes on and films like this are a constant reminder to newer generations of his brilliant and masterful mind, even when it was plagued with troubles.  We have covered other great material from his early works and look forward to other material either by Chaplin or about him as a true master of cinema we never get tired of Charlie!



-   Nate Goss


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