543 Modern Times

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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cdnchris
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543 Modern Times

#1 Post by cdnchris » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:13 am

Modern Times

Image

Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class struggle during the Great Depression, Modern Times—though made almost a decade into the talkie era and containing moments of sound (even song!)—is a timeless showcase of Chaplin’s untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

•New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
•New audio commentary by Chaplin biographer David Robinson
•Two new visual essays, by Chaplin historians John Bengtson and Jeffrey Vance
•New program on the film’s visual and sound effects, with experts Craig Barron and Ben Burtt
•Interview from 1992 with Modern Times music arranger David Raksin
•Chaplin Today: “Modern Times” (2004), a half-hour program with filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne
•Two segments removed from the film
•Three theatrical trailers
•All at Sea (1933), a home movie by Alistair Cooke featuring Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, and Cooke, plus a new score by Donald Sosin and a new interview with Cooke’s daughter, Susan Cooke Kittredge
•The Rink (1916), a Chaplin two-reeler highlighting his skill on wheels
•For the First Time (1967), a Cuban documentary short about a projectionist who shows Modern Times to first-time moviegoers
•More!
•PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Saul Austerlitz and a piece by film scholar Lisa Stein that includes excerpts from Chaplin’s writing about his travels in 1931 and 1932

Also available on Blu-rayAlso available on Blu-ray

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movielocke
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Re: 543 Modern Times

#2 Post by movielocke » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:39 am

That's such a great array of extra features, I can't wait to get this set.

I just wish Criterion would let us know how often they plan on releasing a Chaplin title, because I can't wait for the rest of them.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#3 Post by Svevan » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:08 am

I'm weirded out by this - are they going to release the big stuff one-at-a-time, with no "complete" box until it's all over?

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#4 Post by movielocke » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:11 am

I wonder if they're just going to box up the four big titles after everything Chaplin has been released. Much like they did for Bergman's Masterworks box.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#5 Post by Jeff » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:19 am

Svevan wrote:I'm weirded out by this - are they going to release the big stuff one-at-a-time, with no "complete" box until it's all over?

I imagine so. No real reason to do a big boxed set. These are mostly major titles that will sell well individually. When Criterion bought huge caches of Ozu and Malle titles, they didn't release them all at once either. No reason to treat Chaplin differently than Criterion's other auteurs. It took over ten years of individual Kurosawa releases before they boxed them all up, and you're sacrificing all of the supplements. I suspect you'll get a release every third month or so, with the "major" features on their own, "minor" features paired for release as sequential spines and all of the First National stuff released as a two or three disc set. Of course there's lots of talk about the various possibilities in the omnibus Chaplin/Criterion thread.

movielocke wrote:I wonder if they're just going to box up the four big titles after everything Chaplin has been released. Much like they did for Bergman's Masterworks box.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see an eventual "Chaplin Masterworks" collector's set, but it's probably three years down the road.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#6 Post by Gregor Samsa » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:45 am

movielocke wrote:That's such a great array of extra features, I can't wait to get this set.

Also worth noting that very few of them are duplicated from the earlier MKII/Warner DVD release.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#7 Post by Jonathan S » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:34 am

cdnchris wrote:SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES [...]
•Two segments removed from the film

Sadly, it looks as if the Chaplin Estate is insisting Criterion release the edited re-issue versions, with the deleted footage again as extras. In Modern Times this affects "only" the extra verse of the nonsense song which Chaplin removed in 1954 (the other deleted segment never made the premiere) but it has major implications for other films such as The Kid and A Woman of Paris which Chaplin shredded on their reissues. The first DVD releases by David Shepard for Image presented the films in their original release versions, and it's a great pity that Criterion apparently cannot do the same.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#8 Post by ola t » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:05 am

Jonathan S wrote:Sadly, it looks as if the Chaplin Estate is insisting Criterion release the edited re-issue versions, with the deleted footage again as extras.
A great pity, indeed. Here's David Shepard's Usenet post from 2001 listing the differences between the Image DVDs and the then-still-forthcoming MK2 reissues.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#9 Post by Tribe » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:53 am

Jonathan S wrote:Sadly, it looks as if the Chaplin Estate is insisting Criterion release the edited re-issue versions, with the deleted footage again as extras.

This doesn't bode well for The Gold Rush.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#10 Post by domino harvey » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:16 am

If Criterion seriously releases the Gold Rush with the narration, I will make vague threats about not buying the title and then buy the title

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#11 Post by Finch » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:57 pm

The prospect of CC not being able to release the original Gold Rush really makes me regret now that I sold my Warner disc. Might be worthwhile asking them if they can clarify upfront so that people like myself can try and re-buy the Warner if need be while it still goes for reasonable prices.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#12 Post by david hare » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:29 pm

Look they will be able to source the 25 Gold Rush but the problem is MK2 only provided an SD telecine for the new Kinowelt/Park Circus discs. I dont give a flying fuck if they insist on Crit also making the 42 the "principal" title so long as Crit can source a 1080p of the 25 version (which is wildly superior print BTW.)

As for all the other bits of business coming out of the fucking Chaplin Estate, does someone want to reconsider dumping on me for an earlier comment I made? These people make Beatrice look like an amateur.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#13 Post by jsteffe » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:46 pm

domino harvey wrote:If Criterion seriously releases the Gold Rush with the narration, I will make vague threats about not buying the title and then buy the title

A sparkling new transfer of one the worst ever acts of desecration of his own work by a filmmaker is nothing to crow about. I seriously *won't* order it if they don't at least offer the 25 version as an extra, SD or HD. Seriously, that narration makes the film completely unwatchable. Boy, am I glad that I also held on to the old Shepard DVDs of The Kid and A Woman of Paris--it was painful to see what happened to the "official" cuts on the Warner/MK2 DVDs, including the stretch printing.

The few cuts to Modern Times bother me less, though.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#14 Post by Tribe » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:04 pm

jsteffe wrote:A sparkling new transfer of one the worst ever acts of desecration of his own work by a filmmaker is nothing to crow about.

I haven't heard anyone brag about that...so far, the consensus has been that just about everyone would prefer the original 1925 version of The Gold Rush.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#15 Post by jsteffe » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:42 pm

Tribe wrote:
jsteffe wrote:A sparkling new transfer of one the worst ever acts of desecration of his own work by a filmmaker is nothing to crow about.

I haven't heard anyone brag about that...so far, the consensus has been that just about everyone would prefer the original 1925 version of The Gold Rush.

You're right, of course. I was thinking of "to crow" more along the lines of "utter a cry of pleasure" than "to brag." No reason why anyone here would brag about it.

In fact I just remembered that I still have the Warner MK2 Chaplin sets. So along the lines of David Hare I think that the main reason to buy a Criterion The Gold Rush would be a new 1080 transfer of the 1925 version, since it's already available elsewhere in standard def. For me it would be the *only* reason.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#16 Post by eerik » Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:22 pm


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Re: 543 Modern Times

#17 Post by aox » Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:31 pm

Some of those stills are incredible, and I can't imagine how well the film looks in motion.

Look at this comparison between the new BD and the DVD.

And this one.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#18 Post by Tribe » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:08 pm

aox wrote:Some of those stills are incredible, and I can't imagine how well the film looks in motion.

I've largely stayed out of the BluRay thing, so pardon my ignorance...but, would it be accurate to say that those BD stills approximate what the film would have looked like on the screen back in the day? Are those DVD stills from the same edition...or a previous DVD release?

Those BD stills do indeed look utterly gorgeous!

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#19 Post by domino harvey » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:15 pm

I was holding off because I find this Chaplin film more problematic than most, but wow

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#20 Post by zedz » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:30 pm

Tribe wrote:I've largely stayed out of the BluRay thing, so pardon my ignorance...but, would it be accurate to say that those BD stills approximate what the film would have looked like on the screen back in the day?

Well, we're clearly moving in the right direction (and, indeed, wow!), but it's still a long way from the detail and luminescence of a pristine nitrate print, which is something I don't think will ever be achievable on home video. Hell, not even the best modern 35mm film stocks can replicate the qualities of nitrate, even if they can perform the special trick of not spontaneously combusting.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#21 Post by knives » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:05 pm

domino harvey wrote:I was holding off because I find this Chaplin film more problematic than most, but wow

Really? It's been a long time since I've seen the movie, but one of the reasons it is my favorite Chaplin is that I didn't notice anything problematic. Than again I have been holding off on this one for fear that it has not aged well as my recent rewatching of most of his films have indicated.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#22 Post by Tribe » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:04 pm

knives wrote:Than again I have been holding off on this one for fear that it has not aged well as my recent rewatching of most of his films have indicated.

For whatever it's worth, I've always felt that Modern Times has aged the best of all of Chaplin's non-silent films. It still works perfectly as a masterful experiment in silent film-making during a time when talkies were well established and it's still as funny, endearing and clever as anything Chaplin did. In light of the movies that followed Modern Times, all of which are far from perfect and are marred by Chaplin's ego, Modern Times is his last masterpiece, IMHO.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#23 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:27 am

Tribe wrote:Are those DVD stills from the same edition...or a previous DVD release?

Here is the complete review which states
This 1080p video easily outclasses the problematic Mk2/Warner DVD edition (see the drastic comparisons below) and boasts and overall improvement in every possible area.

The R1 Mk2/Warner Chaplins were indeed "problematic" PAL to NTSC encodes, resulting in extra softness, ghosting and chroma. I wouldn't expect such a degree of difference with the parallel Criterion DVD issue, though of course the Blu-ray will be better on appropriate systems. A reminder, though, that the only complete release of the film on disc is the earlier Image issue - the Criterion, like the Mk2/Warner, snips the final verse of the nonsense song because the Chaplin Estate now insists on the director's revisions decades after making his films.

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#24 Post by oldsheperd » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:26 pm

Modern Times is chock full of commentary on all things such as politics to the advent of sound in film itself. It's really an enjoyable film for pure entertainment value and as thoughtful analysis

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Re: 543 Modern Times

#25 Post by Minkin » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:31 pm


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