CHAPLIN [1992 / 2011] [15th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] [USA Release]
Everyone Has A Wild Side, Even A Legend!
Robert Downey Jr. captures the essence of comic genius Charlie Chaplin in a compelling, nuanced performance that earned him an OSCAR® and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor. Director Sir Richard Attenborough's well-crafted portrait traces Charlie Chaplin's impoverished London upbringing, extraordinary success as an actor and director, his troubled marriages, scandalous affairs, shocking exile to Switzerland and his triumphant return to Hollywood. The huge star-studded cast includes Kevin Kline, Dan Aykroyd, Milla Jovovich, Diane Lane and Geraldine Chaplin (as her own grandmother), and Robert Downey Jr.'s astonishing mimicry of Charlie Chaplin's gait, gestures and accents complete a dazzlingly authentic portrait of one of cinema's first pop culture icons.
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1992 Awards Circuit Community Awards: Nomination: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Robert Downey Jr. Nomination: Best Production Design for Chris Butler and Stuart Craig. Nomination: Best Makeup & Hairstyling for John Caglione Jr., Jill Rockow and Wally Schneiderman. 1992 British Society of Cinematographers: Nomination: Best Cinematography Award for Sven Vilhem Nykvist. 1993 Academy Awards®: Nomination: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Robert Downey Jr. Nomination: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration for Chris Butler and Stuart Craig. Nomination: Best Music for an Original Score for John Barry. 1993 Golden Globes: Nomination: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture or Drama for Robert Downey Jr. Nomination: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Geraldine Chaplin. Nomination: Best Original Score in a Motion Picture for John Barry. 1993 BAFTA Film Award: Win: Best Actor for Robert Downey Jr. Nomination: Best Costume Design for Ellen Mirojnick and John Mollo. Nomination: Best Make Up Artist for Jill Rockow, John Caglione Jr. and Wally Schneiderman. Nomination: Best Production Design for Stuart Craig. 1993 Casting Society of America: Nomination: Best Casting for Feature Film or Drama for Mike Fenton. 1993 Fantasporto: Nomination: International Fantasy Film Award for Best Film for Richard Attenborough. 1993 London Critics Circle Film Awards: Win: Actor of the Year for Robert Downey Jr. 2013 20/20 Awards: Nomination: Felix Award for Best Actor for Robert Downey Jr. Nomination: Felix Award for Best Original Score for John Barry.
FILM FACT No.2: The film was adapted by William Boyd, Bryan Forbes and William Goldman from the books “My Autobiography” by Charlie Chaplin and “Chaplin: His Life and Art” by film critic David Robinson. Associate producer Diana Hawkins got a story credit. Although Sir Richard Attenborough wanted Robert Downey Jr. for the part of Charlie Chaplin, studio executives wanted Robin Williams or Billy Crystal for the role. Jim Carrey was also considered for the role.
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Geraldine Chaplin, Paul Rhys, John Thaw, Moira Kelly, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dan Aykroyd, Marisa Tomei, Penelope Ann Miller, Kevin Kline, Maria Pitillo, Milla Jovovich, Kevin Dunn, Deborah Moore, Diane Lane, Nancy Travis, James Woods, Hugh Downer (Charlie Age 5), Nicholas Gatt (Sydney Age 9), Bill Paterson, Anthony Bowles, Bryan Coleman, Howard Lew Lewis, P.H. Moriarty, Brian Lipson, Alan Ford, Thomas Bradford (Charlie Age 14), Liz Porter, Marcus Eyre, Anwar Adaoui, Ben Bilson, Matthew Cartwright, Ian Covington, Adam Goodwin, Milly Gregory, Sam Holland, Josh Maguire, Daniel Sherman, Luke Strain, Frankie Sullivan, Karen Salt, Gerald Sim, Una Brandon-Jones, Audrey Leybourne, Graham Sinclair, Karen Lewis-Attenborough, Andrée Bernard, Carole Jahme, Jacqueline Leonard, Claire Perriam, Theresa Petts, David Gant, Mary Healey, Phil Brown, Matthew Cottle, Ena Baga, David Duchovny, Mario Govoni, David Mooney, C.J. Golden, Raymond Lynch, Peter Georges, Mike Randleman, Mike Peluso, Caroline Cornell, Ann Fairlie, Paul Hayes, Dennis Vero, Francesca Buller, Nick Corello, Richard Fast, Brad Blumenthal, Yoshio Be, Peter Crook, David Totheroh, Jack Totheroh, Jack Ritschel, Heather McNair, Laura Bastianelli, Joy Claussen, Paul Bruno Grenier, Marykate Harris, Charles Howerton, Jason Logan, Renata Scott, Michael Villani, Jerry Jensen, Larry Randolph, Alan Charof, Dana Craig, Kennedy Grant, Ken Magee, Benjamin Whitrow, Edward Crangle, Stuart Richman, Mark Vegh, Caroline Guthrie, Lawrence Lambert, Robert Stephens, Tim Chaplin, Nick Edmett, David Finch, Mark Long, Tommy Wright, Leonard Kirby, Sean O'Bryan, Donald Elson, Donnie Kehr, Sky Rumph (Charles Chaplin jr. Age 7), Bradley Pierce (Sydney Chaplin jr. Age 8), Richard James, William Dennis Hunt, Michael Blevins, Norbert Weisser, Vicki Frederick, Gene Wolande, Michael Adler, Iris Bath, Thomas K. Belgrey, Tom Preston, Mary Stark, Annie Waterman, Noah Lee Margetts, John Standing, Michael A. Goorjian (Charles Chaplin Jr.), Michael Cade (Sydney Chaplin Jr.), Todd Mason Covert, Phil Forman, Charley J. Garrett, Jerry Giles, Howard Hughes, Jayson Kane, Michael Miller, John Otrin, J. Michael Patterson, Paul Sinclair, Terrence Stone, Ralph Votrian, Emma Lewis, Kenneth W Caravan (uncredited), Charles Chaplin (archive footage) (uncredited), Mark Chapman (uncredited), Virginia Cherrill (archive footage) (uncredited), Jackie Coogan (archive footage) (uncredited), Ken Gehrig (uncredited), Paulette Goddard (archive footage) (uncredited), Jennifer Diane Hanson (uncredited), John Glenn Harding (uncredited), Adolf Hitler (archive footage) (uncredited), Bruce Holman (uncredited), Kirk Jordan (uncredited), Dan Kamin (uncredited), Vivien Latham (Silent Movie Actress) (uncredited), John Howard Lawson (archive footage) (uncredited), Jack Lemmon (archive footage) (uncredited), John Lizzi (uncredited), Walter Matthau (uncredited), Joseph McCarthy (archive footage) (uncredited), David Lee McLain (uncredited), Charles D. Miller (uncredited), Annie Muñoz (uncredited), Lance Patrick (uncredited), Robert Peters (uncredited), Kip Reynolds (uncredited), David Robinson (uncredited), Jessica Russell (uncredited), Reuven Russell (uncredited), Bob Sallese (uncredited), Julius Schaub (archive footage) (uncredited), Marc Ian Sklar (uncredited), Guy Standeven (uncredited), Mack Swain (archive footage) (uncredited), Daniel Taradash (archive footage) (uncredited), Philip Waley (uncredited), Laurel Whitsett (uncredited) and Brad Yates (uncredited)
Director: Sir Richard Attenborough
Producers: Sir Richard Attenborough, Diana Hawkins, Mario Kassar, and Terence A. Clegg
Screenplay: Charles Chaplin (book), David Robinson (book), Diana Hawkins (story), Bryan Forbes (screenplay), William Boyd (screenplay) and William Goldman (screenplay)
Composer: John Barry
Cinematography: Sven Vilhem Nykvist (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English: 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Running Time: 135 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: LIONSGATE / STUDIOCANAL
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Sir Richard Attenborough's biographical film ‘CHAPLIN' is of the life and times of Charlie Chaplin, is a very charming, creative and ultimately moving insight into what made Charlie Chaplin tick and shows you why he was a genius and loved by people all over the world. Robert Downey Jr. does a really excellent job at re-creating Charlie Chaplin's graceful slapstick and getting inside the silent-film superstar's head over many years of triumph, defeat, scandal, official persecution, exile, and inner peace.
The film is packed with stars in small roles, as everyone plays second banana to Charlie Chaplin, especially Marisa Tomei, Milla Jovovich, David Duchovney, Dan Akroyd, Moira Kelly, and Geraldine Chaplin, just to name a few. The period accuracy is well done, and the acting is superb and just shows more of Charlie Chaplin doing what he does best in making people laugh! But of course it all showed the negative side when you see James Woods as a prosecutor working hard to nail Charlie Chaplin for anti-American sentiments and making Charlie Chaplin pay $75.00 a week in a paternity case.
To his credit, Sir Richard Attenborough shows `CHAPLIN' as the social activist who had an FBI files, close to 2,000 pages in length. The drama, at times, seemed a bit much for someone known for bringing joy to so many... perhaps, therein lays the irony of Chaplin's life. Seeing this film makes you appreciate why Charlie Chaplin was a genius, especially seeing Robert Downey, Jr. in top form in this Oscar nominated performance and ode to one of cinema's greatest artists who was the forerunner for such "control freaks" as Warren Beatty and Orson Wells. Writer, director, actor, producer, editor... Charlie Chaplin did it all!
As expected from a Sir Richard Attenborough film, ‘CHAPLIN’ boasts strong production values. The editing and camerawork are smooth. There's a wonderful “life imitates art” scene where Charlie Chaplin is being chased by the police, and this couldn't have been better composed. The aging effects are some of the best I have ever seen. When Charlie Chaplin is old, he looks like he's being played by an elderly actor, not Robert Downey Jr. under a mountain of makeup. Veteran composer John Barry's score, while perhaps too reminiscent of his ‘Dances with Wolves’ music, is evocative. All-in-all, however, even though ‘CHAPLIN’ is fitfully entertaining, it fails to touch enough emotional chords to make it of more than passing interest.
CHAPLIN MUSIC TRACK LIST
THE HONEYSUCKLE AND THE BEE (Written by Albert Fitz and William H. Penn)
DAISY BELL (Written by Harry Dacre)
WHEN THE MOON SHINES BRIGHT ON CHARLIE CHAPLIN (Written by Kerry Mills, Thurland Chattaway and Edward Stanning)
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL (Written by Katharine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward)
Music from CITY LIGHTS (Written by Charles Chaplin)
DON'T DILLY DALLY ON THE WAY (aka "My Old Man (Said Follow the Van)") (Written by Charles Collins and Fred W. Leigh)
VIOLETERA (Written by José Padilla)
POOR BUTTERFLY (Written by Raymond Hubbell and John Golden)
Music from LIMELIGHT (Written by Charles Chaplin)
ANY OLD IRON (Written by Charles Collins and E. A. Sheppard and Fred Terry)
I DREAMT I DWELT IN MARBLE HALLS (Written by Alfred Bunn and Michael William Balfe)
TIGER RAG (Written by Music by Edwin B. Edwards, Henry Ragas, Larry Shields, Edwin B. Edwards and Tony Sbarbaro) (collectively as The Original Dixieland Jazz Band)
WHEN JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME (Written by Louis Lambert aka Patrick S. Gilmore)
CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE (Written by Alfred Lee and George Leybourne) [Performed by The Royal Artillery Band]
VIOLIN CONCERTO IN D (Written by Ludwig van Beethoven)
PLEASE (Written by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger)
SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES (Written by Otto A. Harbach and Jerome Kern)
THE ENIGMA VARIATIONS (Written by Edward Elgar)
Music from MODERN TIMES (Written by Charles Chaplin)
Blu-ray Image Quality – The Blu-ray appears to be derived from the same transfer used for the LIONSGATE 2008 inferior DVD. The greater 1080p resolution afforded by Blu-ray is something of a revelation and of course is enhanced with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. In the earlier scenes in England, detail is noticeably improved and colour delineation is superior. You can make out individual faces in images such as the music hall and vaudeville audiences, as well as different articles of clothing in medium shots. But overall the picture remains soft and sometimes almost mushy, and one begins to worry that perhaps the transfer was flawed in a way that DVD's resolution concealed. When Charlie Chaplin steps off the train at Mack Sennett's studio, and snap, the entire photographic style changes. Without calling too much attention to themselves and without, in other words, looking like a Tony Scott or Michael Bay film, the images become crisp and finely detailed, and the colours become subtly brighter and less faded. Charlie Chaplin may not know it yet, but he's just taken the step that will change his life, and Sven Nykvist's cinematography registers the transformation. Until now, the film hasn't been available in a home video format capable of fully presenting this transition, which registers unconsciously, unless you're looking for it. Black levels are excellent, and check out those tuxedos, and the film's grain structure appears to be intact and unreduced. Having been completed in an era before digital intermediates were standard practice, the film has been transferred from an analogue source, and close attention reveals the occasional “pulsing” instability caused by gate weave. However, this is minor and will probably not be noticed by most viewers.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – When I viewed my previous DVD, I was impressed with the improvements caused by matrix-encoding the 2.0 Dolby Digital track. At the time, I didn't think CHAPLIN's soundtrack could be improved short of a discrete remix from original elements. I stand corrected. The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track on this Blu-ray gives John Barry's haunting score an increased presence and musicality that adds to the film's emotional weight. However, I recommend playing the track through front left and right speakers only, the track tended to “bleed” into the surrounds more than I found desirable. As always with such matters, individual tastes and listening spaces will vary. Dialogue remains clear, as has generally been the case with ‘CHAPLIN.’ Surround effects are not a significant factor with this film.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: The only real Negative aspect of this excellent Blu-ray is that the extras are shown in the most ridiculous aspect, as you get this small image at the top left hand part of my flat widescreen Television and I don't know what idiot who produced this ludicrous nonsense and thought it was at all very clever, but to me it is totally ridiculous and I cannot understand why other people’s Reviews have NOT pointed out this ridiculous situation, as I feel these special features have spoiled what is otherwise a really excellent ‘CHAPLIN' film and again I don't know how LIONSGATE thought these special features were a professional job, in fact it was a very unprofessional crass action.
Special Feature: Includes 3 documentaries plus a rare home movie of Charlie Chaplin, which are as follows:
“All at Sea” Here we get to view a home movie of Charlie Chaplin vacationing in Catalina, California. Here we get to view some rare home movie footage from 1933, shot by Alistair Cooke, then a college student, on Chaplin's boat. It shows Chaplin in private moments, although it also shows how little he could resist the impulse to perform whenever a camera was on. The original footage is in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, but it has been pillar boxed for presentation in a 1.78:1 frame. [2:27]
“Strolling into the Sunset” with this documentary Director Sir Richard Attenborough he interviews Chaplin's son Michael, film critic Richard Schickel and Chaplin biographer David Robinson, whose book supplied raw material for the film, about the film's genesis and the breakthrough that Downey's casting represented. Sir Richard Attenborough is candid about what he thinks he didn't get right and says he'd like to make the film all over again. [7: 30]
“Chaplin the Hero” with this documentary we get some Charlie Chaplin's contributions to film. A reminiscence of a great career, with a mixture of vintage clips and 'CHAPLIN' footage alongside numerous interview snippets. [6:00]
“The Most Famous Man in the World” with this documentary, we take a look at Charlie Chaplin's status as a pop icon, and is a continuation of sorts of the above feature, again reminiscing about Charlie Chaplin. I don't see why this needed to be a separate feature. [5:00]
Theatrical Trailer  [1.78:1] [1080p] [2:00] If you listen to the voiceover, you can hear the marketing department struggling for a hook to sell the film. “Chaaaaaarrrrrrliiiiie!”
Finally, 'CHAPLIN' is not quite a perfect film, nor is it among the top biopics ever made. It is, however, the home of one of the best biopic acting performances out there. Robert Downey Jr. is a fantastic Charlie Chaplin, and watching him recreate the classic, most memorable scenes. Despite slight negative aspects of this Blu-ray, it is still an excellent film and another aspect that is wrong about this Blu-ray disc is that Amazon on both sides of the Atlantic, says that it is just one Region A/1, well I can tell you that this information is totally wrong, as it is as stated on the Back Cover that it is All Regions. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso