Charlie Chaplin was an influential comedian, actor, writer, and producer in the silent film era. I had always heard Chaplin’s name from random sources growing up, but it wasn’t until last year that I actually saw some of his work. As the lights dimmed and the screen turned black-and-white, I expected greatness from this Mr. Charlie Chaplin. What I got in return…was indeed greatness. Beyond greatness, even. I was in awe of Chaplin’s ability to command attention on-screen in subtle ways. One of the first clips that I saw was this one from Modern Times, which I found particularly funny because of Chaplin’s graceful movements across the floor and his facial expressions. Chaplin’s talent is undeniable and inspiring.
Chaplin was born in London on April 16, 1889. Chaplin, like his mother Hannah, developed a love for the stage and worked hard to make it in show business. Chaplin’s first classic movie was The Tramp (1915), which only further elevated his star status. While Chaplin was talented, he was also a very hard worker and did anything to get the shot right. Chaplin would work with everyone on set to achieve the scene that he envisioned. Interestingly, even after production had begun, Chaplin was not afraid to replace a main star in his film with someone else (sounds a little like Woody Allen). Throughout this life, Chaplin had 4 wives (not at the same time) and 11 children.
In the 1950s, Chaplin moved to Switzerland after being banned from the U.S. due to alleged “un-American activities.” In 1972, Chaplin was welcomed back into the states when he was awarded an honorary Oscar. Chaplin died in 1977 in Switzerland. This part sounds a bit crazy, but Chaplin’s body was stolen from his grave by men who requested money. 11 weeks later, Chaplin’s body was recovered.
Charlie Chaplin continues to be prominent not only in the film industry, but he stands out as a cultural icon, as well. I am so interested in learning more about this man who greatly impacted the film industry. I plan on watching more of his films, in addition to reading more about him. This book in particular looks really interesting, and I can’t wait to read it (one of these days once I finish my sky-high pile of books). Have you seen any of Charlie Chaplin’s movies? Do you find him funny?