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A King in New York/A Woman of Paris: The Chaplin Collection

With these two examples of Charles Chaplin's non-Tramp features, you could hardly find a more bipolar pairing to represent sharply different moments in their writer-director's life and career. With 1923's A Woman of Paris Chaplin set out to prove that he could direct a "serious" drama, one displaying broader psychological range and moral complexity than motion pictures had so far. He scored on both counts. Part Victorian morality tale, part elegant comedy of manners, A Woman of Paris stars Chaplin's longtime leading lady, Edna Purviance, in a Henry James-like story of a penniless girl who leaves her provincial hometown and becomes the mistress of a cynical Parisian millionaire (Adolphe Menjou). When the destitute artist she left behind (Carl Miller) discovers that she has become a wealthy toy among the uptown playboy set, their doomed love triangle takes a spin around the melodrama block toward a potent tragic/sentimental finale. 1957's A King in New York, a minor and splenetic satire, was Chaplin's response to his victimization under U.S. McCarthyism. This double-feature DVD, part of The Chaplin Collection from MK2 and Warner Bros., is essential for Chaplin enthusiasts (who, frankly, will likely be the only parties interested). Each film looks and sounds splendid, and The Chaplin Collection's array of supporting extras continues to impress. Dual-DVD keep-case in paperboard sleeve.
—Mark Bourne

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