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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 10 Deleted scenes
  • 11 Theatrical trailer
  • 3 Featurette
  • 4 Photo gallery
  • 1 Documentaries
  • Short film - Camille (1926)

A Woman of Paris: SE

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . B&W . 78 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Chaplin’s first effort at purely directing (and a noticeable absence of the Little Tramp) sees him writing a story of Marie St. Claire, separated from her lover by her intimidating father before escaping to Paris. Here she spends several years waiting for her former love who never received the letter telling him to meet her there. (Shades of Romeo + Juliet of course… ). In time she comes to terms with her loss and begins living a lavish lifestyle amidst the playboys of Paris and slipping into a less moralistic life. Then, by chance, she bumps into her former love and well, I shan’t give away anything more here.

Told in abject silence, there’s no room for dialogue other than those generally necessary character statements upon which the story may well hang. Apart from those, the dialogue is mostly portrayed in actions and expressions from the individuals concerned. However, with Chaplin’s usual moral lowground playing a major part here, the audience of the time (and indeed, quite possibly today) found not much to hold their interest with Chaplin’s notable humour totally absent. Still, for 1923, this kind of indepth exploration of character was practically unheard of as cinema began to come of age.

For those folks who’ve enjoyed the other recent releases of Chaplin’s masterworks, you may find not a lot to hold you here with the aforementioned absence of humour or the lovable Little Tramp. However, for anyone who enjoys Chaplin’s work for the creative genius he is (and was), there are numerous moments here of incredible depth and perception. Worth it for the hardcore fans, but for the casual Chaplin observer there are better and funnier offerings about.

  Video
Contract

Well, like the stable of other releases here, the picture quality is as good as it could possibly get for a black and white print of over 80 years in age. Good depth of shadow detail and layered darks make the picture give up everything it is supposed to in this (naturally0 4:3 delivery. No widescreen back then and of course, there are film artefacts (though nothing heartbreaking).

  Audio
Contract

Again feeling there is some urge to stretch an original mono track into Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, this is the case. This is of course done to appeal to the sound junkies who just gotta have surround, but when a film is practically silent I truly can’t see the point. We do have the more recent Chaplin score attached however - this was the score Chaplin wrote at age 86 for the film’s 70s release. Notably, this second ‘new and improved’ score was Chaplin’s final work before he passed away.

  Extras
Contract

Another swag as usual, but being a less popular release, we are granted them in but one disc (a la Monsieur Verdoux). First, as usual is the Introduction by David Robinson, Chaplin’s biographer. This runs for 5:11 and helps us set the scene relative to the film and Chaplin’s life.

Chaplin Today is another excellent documentary in the style of the other discs and runs an interesting 26:30. This is the highlight of the extras (as is often the case) and well worth watching after the feature.

10 deleted scenes follow before 3:07 of silent footage of the original press photography and signings regarding the film’s release. Filler stuff really, but an interesting historical inclusion.

Paris in the 20s is yet more silent footage of Paris, though this is just historical shots of everyday life in and around the city. Another nice historical inclusion.

Camille is a short film running for 32:46 and happily stars Paul Robeson (he of the amazing voice who sang Ole Man River in Showboat). This is a fairly dinged up copy with little restoration work attempted and is based upon the Alexandre Dumas play.

Then there’s the goold old trailer with the ten or so other trailers that make up the sell job on the rest of The Chaplin Collection. Finally there’s 7:34 of a strung together photo gallery for the discerning and diehard fans.

  Overall  
Contract

Fans who’ve got this far through The Chaplin Collection may well wanna drop what they’re doing and get a hold of this, but for the casual observer there’s not much here to grab. While the morals are interesting for the day and ahead of their time (it would seem), that’s about the only appeal of this Chaplin directorial effort (apart from his uncredited cameo early in the piece).


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      And I quote...
    "...for the casual Chaplin observer there’s not much here to grab..."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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