19 July 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
Am a big fan of Charlie Chaplin, have been for over a decade now. Many films and shorts of his are very good to masterpiece, and like many others consider him a comedy genius and one of film's most important and influential directors.
The short films that form 'The Chaplin Revue' ('A Dog's Life', 'The Pilgrim' and 'Shoulder Arms'), made when Chaplin had found his groove and building upon it, showed a noticeable step up in quality though from his Keystone period, where he was still evolving and in the infancy of his long career. The Essanay and Mutual periods were something of Chaplin's adolescence period where his style had been found and starting to settle. Something that can be seen in all three shorts forming 'The Chaplin Revue', hard to decide which is my personal favourite of three of his best short films and three of the best efforts of his relatively early career.
The stories are more discernible than before and are never dull, though sometimes a bit too busy and manic.
On the other hand, 'The Chaplin Revue' looks pretty good, not incredible but it was obvious that Chaplin was taking more time with his work and not churning out countless shorts in the same year of very variable success like he did with Keystone. Appreciate the importance of his Keystone period and there is some good stuff he did there, but the more mature and careful quality seen here and later on is obvious here in 'The Chaplin Revue'.
While not one of his most hilarious or touching, all three, especially 'Shoulder Arms' are still very funny with some clever, entertaining and well-timed slapstick and has substance and pathos in particularly 'A Dog's Life'. 'The Chaplin Revue' moves quickly and there is no dullness in sight.
Chaplin directs more than competently, if not quite cinematic genius standard yet in this period. He also, as usual, gives amusing and expressive performances and at clear ease with the physicality and substance of the roles. The supporting cast acquit themselves well in all three.
Overall, great as a representation of what Chaplin's appeal was. 9/10 Bethany Cox