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The Chaplin Mutuals

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The Chaplin Mutuals

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
performer:
Charlie Chaplin
distributor:
Blackhawk
genre:
Comedy

We gave it an A-

Between his early success for Mack Sennett’s Keystone Film Company and his later feature-length masterworks, Chaplin attracted a lordly $10,000 a week from the Mutual studio to grind out a dozen short comedies seen on The Chaplin Mutuals. Flush with confidence, he pushed the Tramp into new emotional territory as a homeless Romeo in The Vagabond and a ghetto cop in Easy Street — wherein some inexplicable comic impulse drives him to sit on a syringe. More slyly blithe is the moment in The Pawnshop when he hits someone with a hammer, then fingers its obviously rubber head.

These laserdiscs from updated Blackhawk masters replace the low-rent orchestral scores and bad Dixieland that plague earlier releases with newly recorded synthesizer music — what a relief. And while the visuals don’t have the just-shot-yesterday punch of the rediscovered outtakes in HBO’s Unknown Chaplin, correctly slowed projection speeds for once allow Chaplin’s ever-delicious physical comedy to be savored in something resembling real time. A-

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