Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Tramp

In an era of dazzling special effects, watching vintage silent film classics can be tedious and boring. It does not have brilliant colors, no thundering sound effects, the musical score hums like a lullaby. If one is used to watching contemporary cinematic masterpieces like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong or the Star Wars saga, silent films offer an entirely contrasting cinematic experience. One that requires patience but ultimately rewards the viewers with its own charm.

Prior to watching the films of Chaplin, I have only watched one other silent film, Wings. I have to admit that watching Wings, the first Oscar Best Picture, with its more than 120 minutes running time really tested my patience. It was a little bit long and editing would have made it I believe a little bit better. But then, who am i to argue. The film won the first ever best picture award after all.

These impressions however changed after I saw Charlie Chaplin's movies. Playing the Tramp in most of his films, Chaplin introduces the viewers into an engrossing and ultimately, rewarding, world of silent movies. The plot of his films are simple, predictable in fact, yet it tags the hearts of his audience. The execution is entirely funny, novel and engrossing. One can't help but laugh with his many on-screen gags. How he does it may look simple yet in truth it is an intricately planned scenarios executed with precise timing and mastery by Chaplin proving himself as one of the great masters of cinema.

For those who are tired of watching special effects-laden movies or for those who are simply out to try a new cinema experience, watching Chaplin's movies is the perfect answer. It may not be as flashy or as vibrant as modern films but it provides on its own merit, a rewarding and ultimately endearing experience.

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