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Critic Lends Expertise to <I>Chaplin Collection</I>

27 Feb, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Following the success of last summer's inaugural DVD releases of Charles Chaplin's The Gold Rush, The Great Dictator, Limelight and Modern Times, Warner Home Video March 2 will release The Chaplin Collection Vol. 2, a 12-disc gift set including a documentary by veteran film critic Richard Schickel.

The $99.92 boxed set features the Chaplin films The Kid, The Circus, City Lights, A King in New York, A Woman of Paris, Monsieur Verdoux and Chaplin Revue, as well as Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin, Schickel's documentary that includes commentaries from Johnny Depp, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Robert Downey Jr., who was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Chaplin in the 1992 film Chaplin.

The films, which include digitally remastered 5.1 surround soundtracks, are available separately (without the Schickel bonus feature) at $29.95 each, with the exception of Verdoux, which sells for $24.98.

Each disc features lots of bonus materials, including third-party documentaries, introductions by Chaplin biographer David Robinson, a bevy of deleted material, behind-the-scenes footage, rehearsal footage, photo galleries, newsreel footage, home movies, film posters and trailers.

To Schickel, the DVD format allows fans of the late British-born actor a chance to see the prescient Chaplin as more than just the “Little Tramp.”

“He was quite a serious actor,” said Schickel. “He gave a speech in one of his films about the threat of weapons of mass destruction, which is relevant even today. He would have loved DVD for all of the format's possibilities.” The Chaplin Collection DVD release coincides with a slew of related events, including, beginning March 3, a month-long series of film releases on Turner Classic Movies; an audio-visual display of Chaplin at the Los Angeles History Museum; the release of Chaplin: Genius of Cinema, an exhaustive book that features more than 500 photos; and numerous film retrospectives across the country.

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