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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Charlie Chaplin's on Make Em Laugh

Tonight, Charlie Chaplin will be part of the 'Make Em Laugh' series on PBS. Check your listings for times and dates. The program has been replaying on the weekends.

Update: The last two hours of this series is next week.

Program notes: One of the people on the program to talk about Chaplin was Jeffery Vance. To talk about Buster Keaton, was Patricia Eliot Tobias.

Follow up note: All the series has been shown now. In general, I do wish they didn't just make fun of Ken Burns in the beginning and learned from him about organizing a program. I know they said they wanted to be different, but the program came across as not knowing what direction they wanted to go.

With all the information they had, I felt it wasn't well organized. There are many examples, but for one to keep jumping back to someone they talked about before, broke the flow of the program, when you like to hear more about someone else. And last night, for the host to be talking about himself, didn't have the right feel. There is much more, but I will leave that there...

While some people may have enjoyed this series, I can't say I will be wanting to watch this program in the future. Maybe a case where the comics are great at what they do, but leave the documentary work to who is great at doing documentary work.


Edna's Place said...

Charlie Chaplin was part of the series this evening. I actually enjoyed the Buster Keaton segment much more. It had the best collection of clips and was presented better overall.

It should be noted getting clips for these programs is not easy, so maybe why they only showed older Keystone and Mutual clips for Chaplin.

If you are new to Chaplin, you should watch the Unknown Chaplin Series by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill. The three part series is still the best created on Chaplin.

Also, Gill and Brownlow did a great series on Buster Keaton. Still my favorite on Keaton. - L

Anonymous said...

I thought the show was absolutely terrible - rapid-fire, ten minute sgements on artists of widely varying importance, consisting of mish-mashes of uncontextualized clips and interviews with living figures, all with minimal background information. For the life of me, I can't figure out the audience this was aimed for - it had no appeal from any viewpoint.

Edna's Place said...

I know what you mean. I have been holding back my opinion of this program, even trying to find something good to say about it, but I do agree.

I find it very poorly organized and with no clear direction. Even some of the clips have not been very funny and the segments bounce around like a loose rubber ball, not really connecting with anything.

In their quest to do something different, they ended up coming up something with no vision or direction. They took a good idea and showed us how not to create it.

I will finish watching the series, but do not see myself ever wanting to view it again.

Really well created programs you learn something. I haven't learned anything with this production.

Unlike the great comedians covered, who we do remember, this program is very forgettable.