Make 'em laugh - but you might want to turn the sound down...
, 10 Jun 2011
I remember watching this over and over in the seventies on BBC2, back in the days when black and white weren't dirty words to TV execs - and it had a lot to do with sparking my lifelong interest in classic comedy and silent comedians.
Watching it again with benefit of my own reading and an adult eye, it's startling just how awful the narration is... cod philosophy, inaccurate biographical details, and badly-formed opinion. I know this was put together at the end of the fifties when Chaplin was persona non grata in the States, but to hear the commentary on here, you'd think he ate babies... And poor old Fatty Arbuckle - before you even get a chance to marvel at his talent, or laugh at the jokes, the funereal voice tones in to remind you he lived a life of misery and died young. Gee, thanks - that really set the mood!
The clips are marvellous, and the picture quality is much better than I remember - just take the accompanying dialogue with a pinch of salt.
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