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A film reviewer for Time magazine since 1972, Richard Schickel has attained the stature of a dean of movie history and criticism. Rather than merely turn in his weekly copy, collect columns in occasional book form, and appear as a guest in other people’s documentaries, Schickel has quietly built a respectable body of studies on film about eminent directors (and more pointedly, writer-directors), as well as a few actors.

Much of this work has been for TV: segments on Hitchcock, Cukor, Hawks, Vidor, Walsh, and Minnelli for the excellent 1973 “documentary miniseries” called “The Men Who Made the Movies,” and more recent projects on Eastwood, Cagney, and Harryhausen. Studies of Arthur Penn and Elia Kazan enjoyed limited release as features, and now Schickel has done one on Chaplin which also is playing in festivals and mainstream houses.

“Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin” attempts to present the man’s warts and errors, as well as the film and comic genius, in 131 minutes. Although one suspects it would be impossible to do this completely in anything less than six hours, “Charlie” does an excellent and absorbing job.

Click here to read the full review by David Loftus.

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