Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 15th, 2018
Theatrical Release Date: UK / France / Italy / Japan / USA, 1992
Director: Richard Attenborough
Writers: Diana Hawkins, William Boyd, Bryan Forbes, William Goldman
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Geraldine Chaplin, Paul Rhys, John Thaw, Moira Kelly, 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, David Duchovny
BluRay released: December 6th, 2017
Approximate running times: 145 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: M 15+ (Australia)
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
BluRay Release: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.99
Charlie Chaplin had a career that spanned six decades. He was a multifaceted performer whose talents extended beyond acting. He also composed, wrote and directed the majority of the feature films that he acted in. And though the bulk of the films his output was made during the silent era of film. He was one of the few performers, who made a successful transition after cinema switched from silent to sound. And though, films like City Lights and Modern Times, would see him experiment with sound. He would not make his first true sound film until, The Great Dictator.
Chaplin was directed by Richard Attenborough, whose other notable films as a director include, A Bridge Too Far, Magic and Gandhi. Key collaborators on Chaplin include, screenwriter Byron Forbes (The L-Shaped Room, The Stepford Wives), cinematographer Sven Nykvist (Persona, The Passion of Anna) and composer John Barry (Goldfinger, Star Crash).
The film’s narrative is a condensed overview of Chaplin’s life before stardom, at the height of his popularity and the twilight years of his life. The narrative is told via a series of flashbacks, in which a elderly Chaplin recounts from his life, for a book he is writing. And at just under two and half hours, the narrative is perfectly paced. With the film’s finale providing a very satisfying coda to the events that have just unfolded.
The cast is filled with recognizable faces and though the performances are all very good. They all pale in comparison, when compared to Robert Downey Jr’s tour de force performance in the role of Chaplin. And nowhere is this more evident, then how his performance effortlessly captures Chaplin’s mannerisms. Needless to say, he delivers what is arguably, one of cinema’s greatest autobiographical portrayals. Ultimately Chaplin, has all the ingredients one would want and expect from biographical film.
Chaplin comes on a 50 GB dual layer (46.3 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release in on par with the transfer that was used for Lions Gates North American Blu-ray release.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced throughout. Included with this release are three subtitle options, English SDH, Spanish and French.
Extras for this release include, an image gallery, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 8 seconds), three featurettes – Strolling into the Sunset (7 minutes 29 seconds), Chaplin the Hero (6 minutes 5 seconds) and The Most Famous Man in the World (5 minutes 27 seconds).
Topics discussed in the three featurettes include, the difficulties they faced trying to get financing for this film, Robert Downey Jr. performance, director Richard Attenborough’s thoughts about the film and their thoughts about Charlie Chaplin.
Other extras include, six Charlie Chaplin shorts – The Cure, The Floorwalker, The Vagabond, Behind the Screen, Fireman and The Rink. These short are not in HD and they appear to come from an analog source. Also, these shorts cannot be viewed separately.
Overall Chaplin gets a strong audio / video presentation from Umbrella Entertainment.
Note: Umbrella Entertainment are also releasing this film on DVD.