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Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
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Kid’s Auto Race
(1914)

 

Indicative of the occasional practices of the Keystone Film Company during the years of 1913-1914, when the film release schedule exceeded their production capabilities, quick little films were either purchased or produced on the fly to fill out the split-reel films in the Keystone schedule. Sometimes the Keystone staff took advantage of civic events to serve as a backdrop to these largely improvised films. Kid’s Auto Race (1914) is a prime example of such a film.

In his second film role, Charles Chaplin appears for the first time in his famous makeup and wardrobe improvising as a motion picture camera ‘lens louse’ against the backdrop of a boy’s soapbox car race competition. Henry Lehrman is the frustrated film director who tries to keep Charlie out of the camera frame. — Carl Bennett

coverFlicker Alley
2010 DVD edition

Chaplin at Keystone (1914), black & white, 590 minutes total, not rated
including Kid’s Auto Race (1914), black & white, 7 minutes, not rated.

Flicker Alley, FA0018,
UPC 6-17311-67579-9, ISBN 1-893967-57-3.
Four single-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; four slimline DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, $79.95.
Release date: 26 October 2010.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 8 / additional content: 8 / overall: 8.

This quality DVD edition has been mastered from a restoration conflation of two 35mm nitrate prints held by the British Film Institute, which has been transferred by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovita in Italy. The intertitles were digitally reset with texts from a rerelease print and with two original Keystone cards. The results are very-good to excellent.

The film is accompanied by a music score performed by Eric Beheim on a MIDI synthesizer.

The collection’s supplemental material includes Charlie et sa Belle [Charlie’s White Elephant] (1916), Inside the Keystone Project (2010) documenting the Chaplin Project (10 minutes), Silent Traces: The Keystone Locations (2010) with John Bengtson, author of Silent Traces (12 minutes), and a stills gallery.

Overall, the improvement in quality over previous home video editions is so great that you’ll toss your other Keystone Chaplin discs when you see this collection. Highly recommended!

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Other silent era CHARLES CHAPLIN films available on home video.

Other KEYSTONE comedy films available on home video.

Other SHORT COMEDY FILMS of the silent era available on home video.
Charles Chaplin filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
 
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