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Warner Unveils Chaplin Series

19 Mar, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf

If the legendary Charlie Chaplin were alive today, he would be thrilled with DVD, said George Feltenstein, SVP of classic catalog for Warner Home Video and part of the team that has prepared The Charlie Chaplin Collection for DVD.

The first wave of the collection streets July 1 (prebook May 20), with four Chaplin classics -- The Gold Rush, The Great Dictator, Limelight and Modern Times -- launching the 10-film collection. All the releases are two-disc special editions at $29.95. Warner Home Video worked to bring these films to DVD in a partnership with MK2.

“These are the definitive releases,” Feltenstein said. “These films have been on DVD previously, but the DVDs that were out were old laserdisc versions that did not reflect the quality that DVD has to offer.”

The Chaplin family was very hands-on with creating added content for the remastered releases, Feltenstein said. Film fans, DVD fans and Warner are all lucky that Chaplin himself was meticulous about caring for his prints and a bit of a pack rat when it came to keeping old rehearsal footage, edited scenes and such, he added.

Each DVD release includes all-new documentaries on the films as well as deleted scenes or other vintage footage related to the title.

“The results are sparkling and very impressive,” Feltenstein said.

The studio hopes to not only reach out to classic film and Chaplin fans, but to introduce a whole new audience to the man and his timeless films, Feltenstein said.

“With DVD now, there's a greater likelihood of younger viewers giving an older film a chance,” Feltenstein said. “With our Chaplin DVDs, they will not feel like they're watching an old movie, they'll be totally enmeshed in what's on the screen.”

Turner Classic Movies network will help promote the DVD collection with promos on the cable channel and a special airing of the first four Chaplin films near the July street date.

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra May 31 will play the film score during a special screening of Chaplin's City Lights -- which will be released in a second wave of the collection due later this year -- at a Silent Film Gala hosted by Dustin Hoffman.

Feltenstein said the studio expects buzz from film critics and entertainment coverage to be high for all the releases in the collection, especially going into this year's holiday season.

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