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The clowns of the American silent screen bring laughter to a new generation in this wonderful box set, featuring 53 short films from the era's funniest comic talents: Laurel and Hardy, Fatty Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Mack Sennett, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Will Rogers, Ben Turpin and more. Meticulously prepared for DVD with fresh new musical scores, "Slapstick Encyclopedia" is a unique collection of silent comedy gems.
A veritable gold mine of rarities and little-known treats, Slapstick Encyclopedia lives up to its title as a stupendous compendium of silent-era comedy. Spanning the entire spectrum of slapstick from 1909 to 1927, this definitive collection (curated by film historians David Shepard and Joe Adamson) dutifully credits Keystone Cops creator Mack Sennett as the founder of the slapstick phenomenon. But it reaches far beyond Sennett (who alienated most of his popular stars) to acknowledge nearly every major and minor slapstick star and style. The development of slapstick, which had its roots in vaudeville, is witnessed chronologically, mixing the manic pie-fight sensibility of Sennett's Keystone hits with the lesser-known, more sophisticated parlor-room comedy of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew, while legendary black vaudevillian Bert Williams plies his popular trade in a Biograph short from 1916.
Early appearances by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, Ben Turpin, Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel, and others demonstrate the gradual emergence of the popular personalities (like Chaplin's Little Tramp) that would dominate silent comedy at its peak, establishing timeless screen icons and forever altering Hollywood's way of doing business. But the real strength of this set is its wide scope, unearthing neglected talents ripe for rediscovery (like Charley Bowers and Larry Semon), and allowing the viewer to witness the evolution of gags from simple improvisation to the elaborately planned chase-oriented routines that emerged in the early 1920s. With print quality ranging from good to pristine, and original musical accompaniment by six of the world's leading silent-movie musicians, this 18-hour, 50-film laugh-athon is surely one of the finest DVD sets ever produced. --Jeff ShannonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
You can see so much here, as to the development of the careers of famous silent comedians. See Buster Keaton's crying and mugging hysterics while with "Fatty" Arbuckle develop into his more familiar stoic "Great Stone Face." See Stan Laurel go from frenetic nasty idiot on screen to playing the more sublime "Stanley" in the Laurel and Hardy shorts. See early Harold Lloyd shorts where his character has a bit more of an edge. Wonder why Ben Turpin had a career at all. All along marvel at the wonderful, appropriate musical accompaniment, sometimes on the odd "Fotoplayer."
The caveat? Well, nothing and I mean nothing has been censored and some very politically incorrect moments also make the cut, a few of which can make for some startling viewing for modern sensibilities. Then again, these films are 75 to 90 years old, and that should be borne in mind. In particular, I'm thinking of "The Detectress" and "Haunted Spooks" and parts of the Bert Williams short as rather blatant offenders.Read more ›
it is because the endings of the films seem to be clipped short and the credits are not presented. Also, The producers of these discs should have given more of the history of these films. That said, I am a silent film buff who is very happy to have this in my collection.
Monty Banks gives us one of the most thrilling chases ever seen in film in "chasing choo-choos". It looks like he did all of his stunts here and it is amazing that he lived to tell about it!
Definitely a great collection. Where else can you get silent films for about a dollar each? Do I like all of them? No. But with over 50 films, there is plenty here to enjoy and thrill to.
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