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Chaplin

Richard Attenborough's 1992 biopic of film pioneer Charles Chaplin is an impressive achievement, illustrating the actor/director's gifts for both humorous slapstick and social satire, as well as the bitter facts of Chaplin's life that many of his fans never completely knew. Robert Downey Jr. stars as Chaplin, a British vaudeville comic who relocates to the movie colony of Hollywood at the behest of director Mack Sennet (Dan Ackroyd), where his "little tramp" character becomes the first Hollywood icon and one of the most recognizable personas in the world. However, Attenborough also focuses on Chaplin the man as well as Chaplin the comedian, and the frustrations he endured as a foreigner, a suspected Jew and communist, a silent comic in a talkie era, and an unapologetic liberal humanist — in addition to his numerous relationships and marriages to young women and the scandals they created. Robert Downey Jr. delivers his best performance here (as well as a striking resemblance to Chaplin's tramp), and is joined by an excellent supporting cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, Diane Lane, Kevin Kline, Paul Rhys, Marisa Tomei, Penelope Ann Miller, and Maria Pitillo. Geraldine Chaplin (Chaplin's daughter) also gives a supporting turn, playing her own grandmother. Good transfer, Dolby 2.0, featurette, trailer, textual supplements.
—JJB



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