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Charlie Chaplin Day Today


WhyaDuck
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I was a teenager in the early 1970s watching The Acadamy Awards with my parents. A theatre full of John Wayne, Paul Newman, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Olivier, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, David Niven, Jimmy Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock and many other stars of the 30s. 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s........and that was pretty good in itself.........and then I watched a salute and special award to a silent movie era star. Walter Mathau and Jack Lemmon told that theatre and us at home to sit back and appreciate and laugh and enjoy the film clips we were about to see.....and watching those Charlie Chapin clips with my parents, I heard my dad roar with laughter and my mom laughed and I laughed......but then scenes surprised me as he rescues a kid and such, and they were so dramatic.....all of this was still good......as I heard the Acadamy Award Theatre stars roar with laughter and then moved to tears.....and watching this and then then the long, long roar of applause by the stars as Charlie Chaplin himself wakled onto the stage, much older......and I realized and I felt the stars in the early 70s realized, that this was the Babe Ruth of The Movies. The silent movies stars paved the way for the film actors of the future to have the jobs they have, and the biggest, most popular silent movie star being Charlie Chaplin......and it was touching how the older Chaplin said with a tear in his eye that they were too kind......

 

So I suggest....turn off the computer......and like the stars at the Acadamy Award Theatre in the early 1970s and the TV audience that watched at home......turn on TCM......and as Mathau and Lemmon said.....watch and enjoy......rediscover or discover for the first time.....Charlie Chaplin.

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> I realized and I felt the stars in the early 70s realized, that this was the Babe Ruth of The Movies. The silent movies stars paved the way for the film actors of the future to have the jobs they have, and the biggest, most popular silent movie star being Charlie Chaplin....

If Charlie Chaplin was the Babe Ruth of the movies, then the 1925 version of The Gold Rush is to the unspeakably horrible "enhanced" 1942 version of that movie what the real Babe Ruth was to William Bendix's portrayal of him. Cheers to TCM this morning for *finally* giving us the real version of one of the great comedies of all time.

 

*EDIT:* I take it all back, as once again we're being subjected to this absolutely *worthless* "enhanced" 1942 version. The *REAL* version of this movie is available. *WHY* aren't we getting it? What's going on here?

 

Edited by: AndyM108 on Apr 16, 2013 8:05 AM

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The 1942 re-release was completely controlled by Chaplin.

 

I see you use the term 'real' as in 'real release'. Well do you feel the same about director's cuts? I upset some people here when I questioned if director's cuts were the 'real release'. i.e. my point of view is there is no such thing as a 'real' release, but only different ones.

 

But if the 1942 version was done by Chaplin, how can you say that this isn't 'real' as it relates to his vision and what he wanted to communiate to us? i.e. this is NOT some studio release done by those NOT associated with the original release.

 

My understanding is that Chaplin felt the 1942 re-release was the version he was most proud of.

 

NOW: TCM made another major mistake in their scheduling 'notes' by saying they were going to show the 1925 release and instead showing the 1942 release. TCM really needs to get their act together in this regard.

 

 

 

 

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The Chaplin Estate probably only allows the 1942 version on TV.

 

If the 1942 was the only version of The Gold Rush that existed, it's still obviously a great film (and I don't mind the voice-over,) but the changes Chaplin made were completely pointless and cosmetic. Well, almost - taking the kiss out was simply an utterly stupid non-sensical idea. Ridiculous. The 1925 original was already perfectly magnificent.

 

I knew TCM was going to show the 1942 version - its slot in the cable listing was 75 minutes long - but I have the great Blu-ray anyway.

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You're of course entitled to your opinion as it relates to the 1942 release of The Gold Rush, but I have to assume Chaplin disagreed with you.

 

The point being "the changes Chaplin made". I assume Chaplin didn't feel these changes were "completely pointless and cosmetic" or that "the 1925 original was already perfectly magnificent". Otherwise why would he, Chaplin, mess with his original work? Greed? (the typical reason given by those that hate alterative versions when they are NOT done by the original artist crew)

 

You do raise one concern as it relates to multiple versions of a film and that is when any version (not just the original one, but ANY), are not allowed to be shown by those now in control of the product. When discussing this issue of multiple versions with others I agree that is a very legit concern and it is sad if the Chaplin estate prohibits TCM or anyone outlet to show the 1925 version. But otherwise I still see no harm in multiple versions.

 

 

 

 

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The Chaplin Hier's are dead wrong. THE GOLD RUSH needs to be seen in it's entirety on TCM. They are doing a major disservice to his memory, by not allowing the most complete version to air. Especially after this magnificent new restoration has been done. The 1942 re-issue is very simply put not THE GOLD RUSH. It is in-fact an inferior bastardization that Chaplin himself in later years probably resented.

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First it was only someone's speculation that the Chaplin's heirs are preventing TCM from showing the 1925 version. Do you know this to be a fact? Anyhow, I agree that owners of rights should allow all versions to be seen. Again, ALL versions (not just what purist feel is the 'true' version). This way each viewer can decided what version they prefer.

 

As for Chaplin resenting his own re-release. Well I find that very hard to believe. Chaplin put a lot of work into the 1942 re-release. He didn't strike me as a fool. Thus, for me, it is more logical to assume Chaplin was proud of this re-release, otherwise why release it at all. But I have no inside knowledge how he felt about it.

 

 

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> {quote:title=gagman66 wrote:}{quote}The Chaplin Hier's are dead wrong. THE GOLD RUSH needs to be seen in it's entirety on TCM. They are doing a major disservice to his memory, by not allowing the most complete version to air. Especially after this magnificent new restoration has been done. The 1942 re-issue is very simply put not THE GOLD RUSH. It is in-fact an inferior bastardization that Chaplin himself in later years probably resented.

Frankly I don't give a damn what Chaplin thought of it one way or the other. That 1942 remake is as bad or worse as if it'd been "enhanced" by colorization.

 

In any case, it's extremely doubtful that Chaplin tried to suppress the original 1925 version, as that version was shown in countless repertory theaters in the 60's and the 70's, right up through Chaplin's death in 1977.

 

And since the new Criterion Collection edition has both versions on it, I have to wonder why TCM would settle for showing such a completely inferior product, or at least why they'd keep showing it to the exclusion of the "real" version. And I know it may be sacrilege to say it out loud, but IMO Chaplin should have just **** and let his original genius speak for itself. Artistry as great as the original Gold Rush needed to be "enhanced" with all that talking no more than it needed to be colorized.

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Yes I do know this for a fact, because Chuck Tabesh told me several months ago that they were doing all they could to get the new Criterion Restoration of the original 1925 version on TCM. So if it wasn't shown today, obviously that effort fell through. Unless, they are perhaps holding off for a Prime-time premiere at some point?

 

Also you must understand that when the 1942 re-issue was released very few Silent films had been revived yet. I can really only think of a couple. Valentino's SON OF THE SHEIK in 1937, and William S. Hart's TUMBLEWEEDS in 1939. Both of which were quite successful. Another Valentino picture THE EAGLE (1925) may have also been re-issued to theaters around 1938. But that is about it. Why Chaplin demmed that spoken narration was needed, I have no idea? If that were the only problem with the 1942 version it wouldn't be so bad. Unfortunately this is not the case. Chplin literally altered key plot devices in the story, and removed vital that had made this a great film in the first place.

 

Here are the facts, after Chaplin was barred from reentering the country in 1952, he accidentally let the copyright to the 1925 version lapse the following year. For many years the '25 cut was considered Public-Domain, and was only available in degraded prints of varying quality and completeness. The Chaplin Estate recently went to court to get the rights to the original film back. So why are they insisting on only allowing TCM or anybody to broadcast the '42 edition? Makes no sense whatsoever.. Supposedly the officially authorized Estate version is still '42, but it shouldn't be. Especially if the Estate as it claimed now hold the copyright to both versions?

 

 

I could go further. In 1991 the original 1925 score for Cinema Orchestra to THE GOLD RUSH was discovered in Chaplin's vault. Portions of which he composed. When Criterion first announced that they were putting out a DVD and Blu-Ray with a reconstruction of the 1925 Silent cut of the film, I thought they were going to record the 1925 score as well. Instead, Timothy Brock flawlessly expanded on the 1942 score. with a new Orchestration. Incredibly faithful to the original arrangement. While it is excellent work, I still would have liked to have heard the 1925 score just to see how if compares to the later one. Most of which is not Chplin's music anyway. There are only about 3 or 4 themes to the 1942 score that Chaplin composed himself.

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> {quote:title=}{quote}

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> Here are the facts, after Chaplin was barred from reentering the country in 1953, he accidentally let the copyright to the 1925 version lapse. For many years the '25 cut was considered Public-Domain, and was only available in degraded prints of varying quality and completeness. The Chaplin Estate recently went to court to get the rights to the original film back. So why are they insisting on only allowing TCM or anybody to broadcast the '42 edition? Makes no sense whatsoever.. Supposedly the officially authorized Estate version is still '42, but it shouldn't be. Especially if the Estate as it claimed now hold the copyright to both versions?

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This is one of a million examples of why copyrights should be allowed to die a natural death after 28 years, or with only one renewal period, and not be extended in perpetuity. Just think of all the great parodies of Mickey Mouse alone that could have been made if the evil Disney empire didn't keep its greedy clutches on a character that now dates back 85 years.

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So it is your POV that even the creator(s) of a movie shouldn't have the right to put out alterative versions? Note that once the copyright expires (something I agree with), this will lead to MORE alterative versions e.g. colorization. As the saying goes; Be careful what you wish for.

 

Note that I NEVER commented on the QUALITY of either version (but since that appears to be the topic for you, I like the 1925 release more so than the 1942 one). But again that wasn't the points I was making and or responding to

 

These point were why TCM showed the 1942 version (and thanks to gagman we have an answer and for those that are quick on the draw to blame TCM for everything under the sun TCM was NOT at fault here), and that it was Chaplin (for reasons known only to him), that decided to alter HIS work.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the very useful info. Again, key to me about the altered 1942 version is that it was controlled by Chaplin himself. To me this is a very important point as it relates to who should have the legal rights to alter works like movies or music. Even those that would like to see restrictions on the ability to alter a work (e.g. colorization), without the permission of the creators wouldn't deny the creators the right to alter their work. The fact that in the case of The Gold Rush the altered version is inferior is just a sad outcome (as well as the fact the original one appearing to be suppressed).

 

As for your detailed points about the score being changed; Again, very interesting info especially your comment that the work was excellent work, but you still would want to have the original. I understand this but if a company goes to the expense of restoring a work, shouldn't they have the legal right to alter it as they see fit?

 

Note that each time this topic of altered versions is mentioned I bring up how cities have protected historical buildings. i.e. controls on how these building are maintained, altered etc... I asked if movie purist feel historical movies need something along these lines. I get no responses. Ok, maybe people feel this is a crazy idea but these same people have very strong feelings as it relates to preserving as pure as a version as possible for future generations.

 

 

 

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> {quote:title=jamesjazzguitar wrote:}{quote}

> So it is your POV that even the creator(s) of a movie shouldn't have the right to put out alterative versions? Note that once the copyright expires (something I agree with), this will lead to MORE alterative versions e.g. colorization. As the saying goes; Be careful what you wish for.

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> Note that I NEVER commented on the QUALITY of either version (but since that appears to be the topic for you, I like the 1925 release more so than the 1942 one). But again that wasn't the points I was making and or responding to

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> These point were why TCM showed the 1942 version (and thanks to gagman we have an answer and for those that are quick on the draw to blame TCM for everything under the sun TCM was NOT at fault here), and that it was Chaplin (for reasons known only to him), that decided to alter HIS work.

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To be clear, *of course* Chaplin had the right to butcher (or "enhance") his films any way he wished, including colorization and dubbing. What I do question is the idea that either he or his estate should be allowed to suppress any screenings of the original version, especially considering that they seem to have no problem with the Criterion Collection's newly restored original on DVD. As far as I'm concerned, the original version should never have been allowed to escape the public domain once its original copyright expired in 1953.

 

And while I'm glad to know that TCM wasn't at fault for the butchered version being show yesterday, I sure hope that they keep leaning on the Chaplin estate to come to its collective senses. Those voiceovers in the 1942 version are just as jarringly chalk-on-a-blackboard as the portrayal of Jean Hagen's debut in sound movies in Singing In The Rain.

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It's interesting (well, a little) to read all these negative comments about the 1942 version of THE GOLD RUSH and how the 1925 version isn't shown. I can recall decades ago (before home video) when, except for occasional theatrical screenings or if you knew a collector with a print, the copyrighted Chaplin classics were very difficult to see. Back then, the public domain 1925 version was everywhere and people hardly ever got to see the 1942 version.

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> {quote:title=jamesjazzguitar wrote:}{quote}The point being "the changes Chaplin made". I assume Chaplin didn't feel these changes were "completely pointless and cosmetic" or that "the 1925 original was already perfectly magnificent". Otherwise why would he, Chaplin, mess with his original work? Greed? (the typical reason given by those that hate alterative versions when they are NOT done by the original artist crew)

 

But we can pinpoint and assess how these changes work and the consensus seems to be that the changes accomplish nothing and only subtract. Again, I still think the 1942 version is a great film but only because the changes don't fatally damage it (although the missing kiss is shameful,) not because it improves on anything.

 

The Narration: Chaplin reissued the film the way he did because he didn't think audiences would accept a silent film in 1942. That's not my conjecture, that's the stated reason. It's also well worth pointing out that Chaplin never did narration in any of his other reissues, this was the only time, so it's entirely possible he changed his mind about The Gold Rush. Most of the difference in running time is the deletion of the title cards and the increased projection speed. One very brief subplot was cut out and I don't think anyone thinks cutting it made a positive difference to how the film plays (as in better pacing or story clarity.) The other deletion was the kiss at the end, cut for some completely foggy reason, something about "romance overload" or something - this from a man whose entire career was built on sentiment. Does anyone actually dislike the original ending? I doubt it - how could they?

 

No one's arguing Chaplin doesn't have the authority to do whatever he wants to do. It's only a semantic thing - the issue has always been the preferred version (which Andy simply calls the "real" version.) Chaplin says one thing but the consensus doesn't seem to be in his favor.

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So Chaplin caved to "current" taste (1942) and altered his work so that it could be enjoyed by a larger audience. Hey, that sounds like a very reasonable explanation for his actions. So this is more and more like colorization!

 

As for the prefered version? Well one would have to have a random group of people watch both versions to determine that (TCM viewers are NOT a random group and it is safe to assume contains more purist than the general population).

 

My guess (but only a guess), is that the preferred version would be the one with some sound since the general population dislike silent movies, black and white movies and generally those 'silly old movies' (again, generally).

 

So one could say that if what Chaplin did (like colorization), leads to exposure of his product to an audience that would NOT of partake in the original product otherwise, than his goal was meet and this justifies his actions.

 

(again, I see no need to alter the 1925 version OR colorization, but I'm a diehard TCM viewer).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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> {quote:title=musicalnovelty wrote:}{quote}It's interesting (well, a little) to read all these negative comments about the 1942 version of THE GOLD RUSH and how the 1925 version isn't shown. I can recall decades ago (before home video) when, except for occasional theatrical screenings or if you knew a collector with a print, the copyrighted Chaplin classics were very difficult to see. Back then, the public domain 1925 version was everywhere and people hardly ever got to see the 1942 version.

Having seen the original silent version many a time when it was widely available, and having suffered through the first half hour of the butchered 1942 remake before giving up in disgust, I can say with confidence that people back then weren't missing anything. Even colorization would've been a vast improvement over the added soundtrack, which in itself converted Chaplin's greatest achievement into his greatest embarrassment. That Chaplin estate should be stuffed into a dumpster, but not before relinquishing all power and control over Chaplin's movies. At least give control of The Gold Rush to the AFI or to TCM, or to anyone who would actually have a clue as to what to do with it.

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That would be fine, if only the Chaplin estate would release the real (1925) version for television. Which so far they haven't done. That way TCM could show both of them, and then for all I care NBC could show commercial-interrupted screenings of the 1942 version every year on Canadian independence day.

 

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Andy; I agree 100% with what you have posted here. But short of some overreaching government policy on privately owned products (e.g. movies music), there isn't much we can do about this.

 

As I also pointed out if these products were allowed to go into the public domain there would be more exploitation of these works. For example, take The Beatles White Album rap re-mix. ECM was able to prevent distribution of this because it wasn't in the public domain.

 

If there were many more 'modern' versions of a product (i.e. versions made under the assumption they are more suited to modern taste), it could make it more difficult for us to get access to the original product. Sadly in most cases if one cannot make a buck off of the original one would market it.

 

 

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