News from the Silent Movie Front: Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Other Funny Business

Lots of exciting stuff being released, including several items that are common to see tie in with talkies but are quite rare for silent films. Let’s dive in!

Smile! Two Ways

For all you Charlie Chaplin fans, there are two really interesting new/future releases: a children’s picture book and a music album.

Smile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh (and Cry) written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Ed Young

This picture book tells the story of Charlie Chaplin’s childhood and how he became one of the world’s most beloved comedians. The cut and torn paper illustrations by Young are particularly attractive. The Candlewick Press hardcover will be released March 26, 2019. You can pre-order here.

Chaplin’s Smile: Song Arrangements for Violin and Piano by Philippe Quint and Marta Aznavoorian

People ask about silent film music pretty frequently and while this album does feature music from talkies, all of Chaplin’s compositions and arrangements have that unmistakable sound. This album features guest musician Joshua Bell on two tracks and is available on MP3 and CD. It’s absolutely lovely and even if you are not in the market for silent film music, the album makes for pleasant listening. You can order a copy here.

The video above is a preview and brief interview with violinist Philippe Quint.

Harold Lloyd’s film The Kid Brother is getting the Criterion treatment! True to their brand, Criterion has stuffed the release with extras including restored versions of Over the Fence (1917) and That’s Him (1918), with new Wurlitzer theater pipe organ scores and a discussion of their early film formats by archivist Dino Everett. Hats off to nerdy stuff!

It will be available on DVD and Bluray and you can preorder here.

Ben Model is making the two-disc Alice Howell Collection available through his Undercrank label. This is the first time in decades that the work of this pioneering comedy star has been available (beyond a short or two) in decades. Exciting stuff!

The set will be made available on March 5, 2019. You can pre-order here.