This is topic Avoid Filmoffice Chaplin and L&H releases in forum 8mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Joseph Banfield (Member # 2082) on August 31, 2018, 05:42 AM:
Just a quick FYI here: All the Chaplin mutuals marketed by Filmoffice are butchered beyond belief. Although they were sold as two reeler films put up on 400" reels, so many scenes are shortened or simply missing altogether. Most title cards are removed making the story very hard to follow. Case in point: "The Cure" which was retitled in French as "Charlot fait une cure". Missing is the hillarious sequence of Eric Campbell in his wheel chair rolling down the steps and him being flung into the well. Also missing is the final scene of Chaplin himself falling into the well and an earlier scene where Chaplin falls into the swimming pool during a drunken daze.

The same treatment was given to all the Mutual comedies, as well as to the French versions of " Helpmates" and "Two Tars" by Laurel and Hardy. "Two Tars" does not even open with the American fleet of ships on the scored sound version. I assume the same to be true for the other LH films too.

It's a real shame that Filmoffice edited so much of their stuff since the quality was usually excellent while leaving their cartoons pratically untouched! BTW, Filmoffice used the same negatives as Blackhawk for the Chaplin Mutuals, although using their own opening credits and title cards, if of course, they decided to use any title cards at all.
Posted by Joseph Banfield (Member # 2082) on September 19, 2018, 02:41 AM:
And just in case anyone would doubt the butchery done by Filmoffice, have a look at this Youtube post of "The Cure" from 1916 and look at all the missing footage of their 400 foot release. All of their 400 footers received the same treatment too!
Posted by Panayotis A. Carayannis (Member # 1220) on September 20, 2018, 01:14 PM:
The Laurel and Hardy and Chaplin,and other comedians' films were much older releases from F.O. The cartoons came much later.Like many companies from the fifties and sixties,each F.O. reel lasted uniformly for 7'30'' minutes only.Even their features of 5 reels,lasted for37'00 minutes.
Posted by Joseph Banfield (Member # 2082) on September 24, 2018, 02:26 AM:
I am happy to hear your information that you posted about Filmoffice. It is nice to have this positive confirmation. I have also heard that with many of their cartoons they would shave a few seconds here and there to save a few pennies on film stock, according to what I have read in the French forums.
Posted by Allan Broadfield (Member # 2298) on September 24, 2018, 05:13 AM:
The example of BO butchery of 'The Cure' on utube was awful, with pretty bad picture quality too. A pity because the sound effects were quite amusing.
Posted by Panayotis A. Carayannis (Member # 1220) on September 24, 2018, 06:27 AM:
Of course I am referring to the old silent,or mute versions of talkies. I believe their sound color Tom and Jerry,Popeye,Barney Bear (named "Barnabe" by the french) etc cartoons are complete,except for the credits.But,the same problem occurs with Walton! Their Tom and Jerries lack one minute,or so. Their two reelers,silent or sound, run for 17 minutes.Personally,I am angry at all the british companies that cut all their features to 4x400.There are many examples,so,don't be mad at good old Film Office.They didn't do more harm than everybody else.Perhaps you did stumble on the worst FO print and this struck you badly! [Smile]
Posted by Brian Fretwell (Member # 4302) on September 24, 2018, 10:34 AM:
Ged has put on the Derann Vaults Facebook page that this editing was often insisted on by the rights holders to protect the 16mm rental business and that when that collapsed after the video boom things could be released un-cut.
Posted by Joseph Banfield (Member # 2082) on September 27, 2018, 04:30 AM:
Yes, I have that print of The Cure from Filmoffice and I can confirm that it is the same cut as the one in the youtube video. And it is just not The Cure that received this treatment since all of the Mutual comedies were done in a similar manner. The Cure has only a beginning title card after the credits and there are no others after this. The Vagabond has no title cards either and over half of them are missing from The Immigrant too. Ect., ect., ect..

I have no problem with Filmoffice quality which is usually very good. It is just the fact that due to their heavy editing practices you are left with a story that often makes little sense and the audience is left scratching their heads.

Another case in point is that Filmoffice zoomed in too tight on the Mutual comedies thereby cutting of people's heads at times whereas with the Blackhawk later releases they put a black bar on the side of the picture to avoid the cropping issue and give the full frame image.

Filmoffice produced some nice stuff over the years but the Chaplin Mutual comedies were not among them!
Posted by Phil Murat (Member # 5148) on September 27, 2018, 04:48 AM:
To be note, taking apart a poor commercial strategy, F/O was certainly penalized by a "terrible" VAT rate (33,3% in France during 1982 !!).
This rate was applied on "Luxurious" goods......
From my point of view, this killed the home Cinema business in France !!!

[ September 27, 2018, 11:11 AM: Message edited by: Phil Murat ]
Posted by David Ollerearnshaw (Member # 3296) on September 27, 2018, 10:29 AM:
The editing down to 4x400ft of features on super 8 seems to be more than just the rights holders. Many on standard 8 seemed complete. Some first release on super were complete and then later appeared abridged. Mine you some of the titles the trailers were too long.
Posted by Joseph Banfield (Member # 2082) on September 30, 2018, 12:42 PM:
I have both standard 8mm and Super 8 prints of The Immigrant from Filmoffice and they both are identical cuts. In fact the standard 8mm is on two 200' reels. BTW, the standard 8mm version looks much nicer than the later Super 8 version as far as picture quality.

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