Charlie Chaplin

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Charlie Chaplin

I <3 Charlie Chaplin. Here is one of my favourite scenes in all of film:



[quote]I'm sorry but I don't want to be an Emperor - that's not my business - I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white.

We all want to help one another, human beings are like that.

We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way. 

Greed has poisoned men's souls -- has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.

Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.

Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say "Do not despair".

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people , will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish. . .[/quote]

Last year it was revealed that Chaplin may have been born in a Roma travelling people camp. Only recently, some files have been revealed that the MI5 investigated Chaplin on behalf of the FBI who considered him a communist sympathizer. Chaplin was kicked out of America in the 1950s during the red scare and lived out the rest of his life in Switzerland.

In a few weeks I'm teaching Modern Times (1936), one of the best films ever made. It will be a treat. Any other Chaplin fans on babble?



Issues Pages: 
Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Here! I've seen many of his films and shorts, both before sound, and after, and  used to have a book on him.


Bobby Sands wrote:
Modern Times

It is said we live in modern times,
In the civilised year of ‘seventy nine,
But when I look around, all I see,
Is modern torture, pain, and hypocrisy.

In modern times little children die,
They starve to death, but who dares ask why?
And little girls without attire,
Run screaming, napalmed, through the night afire.

And while fat dictators sit upon their thrones,
Young children bury their parents' bones,
And secret police in the dead of night,
Electrocute the naked woman out of sight.

In the gutter lies the black man, dead,
And where the oil flows blackest, the street runs red,
And there was He who was born and came to be,
But lived and died without liberty.

As the bureaucrats, speculators and presidents alike,
Pin on their dirty, stinking, happy smiles tonight,
The lonely prisoner will cry out from within this tomb,
And tomorrow's wretch will leave its mother's womb!


My favourite quote comes from Monsieur Verdoux, an overlooked film IMV:

Wars, conflict, it's all business. One murder makes a villain. Millions a hero. Numbers sanctify.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Boom Boom, I knew I could count on you.

Sineed, I haven't seen that one yet. Looks like I better bump it up my list...

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

The Rink (1916) Ha ha ha

I spent several months in Cuba in 1970. At the time a lot of his movies were rarely seen, and Chaplin gave his library to Cuba. It was such a treat watching many of them for the first time. And even ones I knew, I had only ever seen really scratchy copies.

Monsieur Verdoux blew me away, probably in part because it was obviously such a major film and I had never heard of it much less seen it,

That quote is from the soliloquoy at the end. Presuambly the unvarnished anti-state pacifism is what got it completely blacklisted.


Piet Hein, Grooks wrote:

To Charles Chaplin

The well you invite us to drink of
is one that no drop may be bought of.
You think of what all of us think of
but nobody else could have thought of.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Who Invented Chaplin's Tramp?

TREADING WATER IN OUR MEDIA OCEAN it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the frenzy that surrounded Charlie Chaplin in his early years, when movies were all there was, and Chaplin had become, in critic Gilbert Seldes's words, "the universal symbol for laughter." In 1921, when he finally came home to London, crowds camped out for two nights to watch him drive from Waterloo station to the Ritz, and when he cruised by, they greeted him with more enthusiasm than their heroes marching home from war.

It wasn't Chaplin they cheered, of course; it was the Tramp. From his first pictures for producer Mack Sennett, who didn't credit actors, in a Los Angeles where the Times didn't take movie ads, the Tramp was an instant sensation. As Seldes remembers, he leapt to fame as a splay-foot cardboard cutout hung outside the theaters, beckoning young and old, first in America, but soon around the world.  

Once Charlie found the Tramp, he only played the Tramp. Why not?  Who'd have let him play anything else? This "many sided fellow," as Chaplin put it, "a tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure," freed him to explore his complicated talent, and bound him to his audience. The Tramp touched his followers in a way only movie stars could when movies were new. Splashed huge on the screen, he was bigger than they were but they knew him like a brother. Their modest emotions, projected on the silver Tramp, expanded into passions deeper, subtler, and seemingly more important. Chaplin rubbed together greed and generosity, lust and love, triumph and disappointment, igniting a hotter, brighter laughter than they'd known before.  They loved the Tramp with a superhuman love.

Sven Sven's picture

Good stuff, CF.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Why, thankee. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

A list of all of Chaplin's films, short and feature-length, all available on the public domain.

If you're like me, you almost suffered a heart attack of joy before finishing the list.