The Cineteca di Bologna has just issued two handsomely-produced book and DVD sets, All ricera di Charlie Chaplin – Unknown Chaplin (The Search for Charlie Chaplin) and Alla ricera di Buster Keaton – A Hard Act to Follow.
The two sets bring together the classic documentary series together with accompanying texts written by Brownlow. The three-part television series Unknown Chaplin was produced by Brownlow and David Gill in 1983, and showcased the previously-unseen collection of Chaplin out-takes that so richly illuminated his working methods. The text, originally written by Brownlow in 1983, was published for the first time by the Cineteca in 2005 in a dual-language edition with DVD. This re-issue has the Italian text only (163 pages), while the DVD is the English-language series (with Italian subtitles). It includes the extras How Unknown Chaplin was Made (on the making of the TV series), The Making of The Count (historian Frank Scheide examines the process of making the Mutual film) and Chaplin meets Harry Lauder (1918). These are available on the UK and American DVD releases.
Frank Scheide viewing The Count
Buster Keaton – A Hard Act to Follow is a three-part television series made by Brownlow and Gill in 1987. It documents the story of Keaton’s working life, with close examination of his working method through the films (though without the revelation of a hidden archive of film this time round). The accompanying book (250 pages) has been written for this publication, which makes it particularly important, but again, the text is in Italian only (there are hopes of an English publication eventually). The DVD is of the English-language television series, but the release has Brownlow’s approval, as opposed to the UK version which lacks many explanatory titles. There are no extras.
The sets are available for 15.00 € each or 27.00 € for the two, from the Cineteca di Bologna site.