Chaplin Gets a 15th Anniversary DVD

Thanks to Ray over at Obsessed With Movies for bringing this to my attention. There are a few reasons why I would usually overlook the new edition of Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin and not even bother giving it more than a brief mention despite my admittedly biased like of the movie. For one, I had not heard of this re-release, which means it was probably extremely rushed to capitalize off Robert Downey Jr.’s reemergence as a big-time bankable star (yep, it was announced in September). Secondly, because of this, this DVD has very little more on it than the 1998 release. Just a couple of featurettes and that’s it. Not even a commentary.

But I am bringing this up anyway, although naively and for no other reason than a young man chasing a dream. A part of me wonders, hopes, pleads that maybe, just maybe respectable sales of this DVD will lead to releasing Attenborough’s 4-hour long original cut. Yes, I know how unlikely that is and not just because of the ridiculous amounts of politics that would be involved there, but because Attenborough is 85-years-old and not getting any younger. Still, he’s not exactly retired, having directed a film as recently as last year.

I’ve championed this film for as long as I have been writing about movies and while I recognize its glaring flaws – the near fatal one being the heavy focus on Charlie Chaplin’s love life rather than his genius – I’ve always felt the restored hour and a half would also restore the brilliance I know is hiding somewhere in this film. Otherwise, the movie is just a showcase for Downey Jr. and his eerily magnificent channeling of Charles Chaplin.

So, this is my plea to Lionsgate and Attenborough and whoever the hell is in charge of deciding such a thing. If this DVD does well, the original cut needs to become a reality. Attenborough has expressed interest in it before and always said that the movie that was released was not the film he envisioned – so let’s get this thing done.

Come on, really, who wouldn’t want to see this happen?

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sir jorge

this is one of my favorite biopics of all time. Great movie.

Ross Miller

As a Downey Jr fan I ashamed to say I haven't seen this yet….boo hoo…

Roy P.

You asshole, I read the title hoping that it would be the 4 hour version…but nope. I really like the 2 hour one, but I won't bother picking this up since I already have the DVD.


first time I saw it I thought it was magnificent. The second time its flaws were very very apparent (this was years apart though) – The early scenes are lame, the old age Chaplin feels like a parody of biopics, the movie focuses way too much on personal stuff and not enough on his career. In general, its very iffy. I sold my copy.