3 January 2003 | mmmuconn
master of comic timing
By the time he made `A Dog's Life', Charlie Chaplin was already a master of cinematic comic timing. Editing techniques had not developed to the point at which they would be much help to Chaplin's physical comedy gags, so laughs required expertly handled choreography. Chaplin must have rehearsed countless takes to get each scene just right. The incredible opening sequence, seemingly shot all in one take, is particularly amazing. Chaplin and his fellow actors synchronize their movements perfectly so that, no matter what action they undertake, they always arrive on opposite sides of the fence at the exact same moment. Additionally, they make each movement at a natural pace so that, rehearsed though they may be, their motions always seem spontaneous and believable. You never get the sense that Chaplin or the policemen are speeding up or slowing down.