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Anyone for Chaplin

Flopper

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I saw an article in the New Yorker, titled, "Charlie Chaplin’s Scandalous Life and Boundless Artistry". Not being a Chaplin fan, I immediately put it down but later for some reason I decided to read it. Then I read a wiki article and decided I would give one of Chaplin's silent movies a try. So I watched "The Kid" which was not easy because, I absolutely hated silent movies. However, once I got use to no voices, I realized that Chaplin was really a great actor, he would have you laughing at his crazy antics and minutes later he could bring a tear to your eyes. Then I watched "The Tramp" and "Modern Times" and I was hooked.

His life is the stuff movies are made of. There were several movies about him but none came close to telling the story of this incredible artist.

Charlie was born into a life of extreme poverty in London, the son of an alcoholic music theater entertainer who died early in Charlies life and a mother who scrub floors and did odd cleaning jobs. Charlie was sent to a workhouse twice before he was 9. His mother was sent to a mental institution and died. Charlie and his brother were left destitute, so he took odd jobs cleaning, running errors, and panhandling.

Charlie had almost no formal education. He taught himself to read and write. Still a child he got a job in a theater where he learned to tap dance. At 14, he became a member of a touring company. There he learned to read music, play the piano, Cello, the flute, and the clarinet. By 17 he was writing music for the troupe. At 19 he signed with a theater group that paid his way to American. Chaplin wrote in his autobiography that he arrived in America with 38 cents. In 1914 he signed a contract with the Keystone Movie Company. In just 4 years he was one of the best know figures in the world. He became fabulously wealthy, married 4 times and fathered 11 children. He was one of the founders of United Artists, made dozens of silent movies and 8 or 10 sound movies. He directed, produced, wrote screen plays, authored over a dozen books. In music, he composed dozens of both well known and obscure pieces as well as a few classical pieces. He was a guest conductor at the London Philharmonic and ,many others in Europe. He was knighted by the queen and received an Oscar for his lifetime achievements. He died with estate worth 400 million dollars.

Unfortunately, there was a dark side to Chaplin's life, numerous affairs some with teenagers, rumors of illegitimate children, and accompanying lawsuits. His movies, writings, and life style caught the attention of FBI Director Hoover who made it his personal mission to see Chaplin and his movies banned from this country. The House Un-American Activities accused him of being a communist which he denied. In his last movie made in the US, he ridicule the goverment, Hoover, and McCarthy which ended his career in the US. Chaplin left the US and was not permitted to return. His films were banned in the US. However, his popularity abroad remained strong and he made one his most memorable sound movies, "Limelight" in London in 1952. Limelight was also his best known musical composition.



 
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toobfreak

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I saw an article in the New Yorker, titled, "Charlie Chaplin’s Scandalous Life and Boundless Artistry". Not being a Chaplin fan, I immediately put it down but later for some reason I decided to read it. Then I read a wiki article and decided I would give one of Chaplin's silent movies a try. So I watched "The Kid" which was not easy because, I absolutely hated silent movies. However, once I got use to no voices, I realized that Chaplin was really a great actor, he would have you laughing at his crazy antics and minutes later he could bring a tear to your eyes. Then I watched "The Tramp" and "Modern Times" and I was hooked.

His life is the stuff movies are made of. There were several movies about him but none came close to telling the story of this incredible artist.

Charlie was born into a life of extreme poverty in London, the son of an alcoholic music theater entertainer who died early in Charlies life and a mother who scrub floors and did odd cleaning jobs. Charlie was sent to a workhouse twice before he was 9. His mother was sent to a mental institution and died. Charlie and his brother were left destitute, so he took odd jobs cleaning, running errors, and panhandling.

Charlie had almost no formal education. He taught himself to read and write. Still a child he got a job in a theater where he learned to tap dance. At 14, he became a member of a touring company. There he learned to read music, play the piano, Cello, the flute, and the clarinet. By 17 he was writing music for the troupe. At 19 he signed with a theater group that paid his way to American. Chaplin wrote in his autobiography that he arrived in America with 38 cents. In 1914 he signed a contract with the Keystone Movie Company. In just 4 years he was one of the best know figures in the world. He became fabulously wealthy, married 4 times and fathered 11 children. He was one of the founders of United Artists, made dozens of silent movies and 8 or 10 sound movies. He directed, produced, wrote screen plays, authored over a dozen books. In music, he composed dozens of both well known and obscure pieces as well as a few classical pieces. He was a guest conductor at the London Philharmonic and ,many others in Europe. He was knighted by the queen and received an Oscar for his lifetime achievements. He died with estate worth 400 million dollars.

Unfortunately, there was a dark side to Chaplin's life, numerous affairs some with teenagers, rumors of illegitimate children, and accompanying lawsuits. His movies, writings, and life style caught the attention of FBI Director Hoover who made it his personal mission to see Chaplin and his movies banned from this country. The House Un-American Activities accused him of being a communist which he denied. In his last movie made in the US, he ridicule the goverment, Hoover, and McCarthy which ended his career in the US. Chaplin left the US and was not permitted to return. His films were banned in the US. However, his popularity abroad remained strong and he made one his most memorable sound movies, "Limelight" in London in 1952. Limelight was also his best known musical composition.


Charlie Chapin: the greatest comedian and comic genius this Earth ever knew.

Few today could be this funny without any voice or sound.

 

Moonglow

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I watch all the silent films I can they tell a story much different than when there is sound. And yes there is no shortages of scandals by actors or humans in general.I suggest earlier films like "By the Sea" a 1915 film that shows what Chaplin said they did for years, they grabbed the camera and made it up as they went along. Another of my favs is the silent films of Laurel and Hardy. In them you will see gagas and setups in their talkies that they refined over the years in the silent era. One such gag was the story of when they were delivering a piano and they carried it up a long set of stairs the stairs was the same set they used in a silent film when they were selling clothes washers, they simply changed the prop...Early films also were the beginnings of styles of camera work and sight gags the best was Keaton as his films were loaded with sight gags and live action gags in which he did dangerous stunts and got them right the first time without practice.
All of the old silent films actors though did have one thing in common, drinking, they all had to fight their over indulgences that they relied upon to carry them through bad times.
 
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Flopper

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I watch all the silent films I can they tell a story much different than when there is sound. And yes there is no shortages of scandals by actors or humans in general.I suggest earlier films like "By the Sea" a 1915 film that shows what Chaplin said they did for years, they grabbed the camera and made it up as they went along. Another of my favs is the silent films of Laurel and Hardy. In them you will see gagas and setups in their talkies that they refined over the years in the silent era. One such gag was the story of when they were delivering a piano and they carried it up a long set of stairs the stairs was the same set they used in a silent film when they were selling clothes washers....
I watched By the Sea. It was good.
Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the two great comedy geniuses of their time, never appeared in a silent movie together. However, they both appeared in Chaplin's 1952 sound movie "Limelight".
 

Moonglow

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Harold Lloyd was another great I never knew he had a prothstetic hand from an accident and he still did his own stunts, I learned about it last year when I did a study on him. I was a radio/tv/film/theater production and performance major in junior high though college and after working in the field for a while I moved on to other trades and professions and since I am disabled now I have revisited the old love of films from the beginning of film to today's productions.
 

Eric Arthur Blair

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I didn't think Chaplain could hold a candle to Buster Keaton. Having said that Keaton was an alcoholic and
Chaplain a pervert and pedophile of immense proportions.

Marion Davies, also an alcoholic and mistress to William Randolph Hearst, was also a great comedienne
as was Louise Brooks, who left Hollywood for Europe (making Pandora's Box there) and never came back.
She co-starred in an early W.C. Fields movie.
 

Picaro

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They all had 'drinking' in common because the U.S. was a nation of violent nasty wife beating drunks, with per capita consumption rates triple that of Europe. Prohibition was a womens' movement as well as as Progressive movement. Despite being heavily watered down, and not banning alcohol or drinking, despite the claims of pissed off drunks and assorted lying assholes, Prohibition worked in reducing family and public violence in the general public, and was finally only repealed because the Feds needed to find sources of revenues, not because it was unpopular with the majority of Americans. Many states and counties continued to remain dry after repeal, just as many were already dry before Prohibition became a national law.
 

Picaro

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Keaton did entirely different kinds of comedy than Chaplin, so I don't one was 'better' than the other. Chaplin worked social messages into his work more than Keaton did; Keaton liked to showcase the absurd in life. Overall I personally Liked Keaton's work more.

Few liked to notice Chaplin's messages, since they tended to highlight the hypocrisy and lack of real values among much of the working class and poor, they were as brutal, callous, and nasty as the upper class types on average, just as in real life. Jay Gould wasn't being an arrogant ass when he said he could hire half the working class to kill the other half; Gould came from working class poverty himself.
 
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Flopper

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Harold Lloyd was another great I never knew he had a prothstetic hand from an accident and he still did his own stunts, I learned about it last year when I did a study on him. I was a radio/tv/film/theater production and performance major in junior high though college and after working in the field for a while I moved on to other trades and professions and since I am disabled now I have revisited the old love of films from the beginning of film to today's productions.
I've only seen a couple of Harold Lloyd films many years ago and really don't remember them.
 

Eric Arthur Blair

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If Charlie Chaplin was the underdog protagonist fighting for the little man and Keaton the surrealist master dazzling your mind then Lloyd was the optimistic go getting American archetype displaying a never say die
attitude.
Together they were the holy trinity of silent comedy.
 
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Flopper

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Keaton did entirely different kinds of comedy than Chaplin, so I don't one was 'better' than the other. Chaplin worked social messages into his work more than Keaton did; Keaton liked to showcase the absurd in life. Overall I personally Liked Keaton's work more.

Few liked to notice Chaplin's messages, since they tended to highlight the hypocrisy and lack of real values among much of the working class and poor, they were as brutal, callous, and nasty as the upper class types on average, just as in real life. Jay Gould wasn't being an arrogant ass when he said he could hire half the working class to kill the other half; Gould came from working class poverty himself.
You're right, Chaplin almost always had underlying messages in his silent films. Buster Keaton was almost pure comedy with splash of drama. After silent films, Chaplin made only about half dozen sound movies. In those moves his messages were not underlying. They smacked you right in the face which became the basis for his problems with the US government, Hoover in particular. Of his sound moves, I thought Limelight and The Great Dictator were his best. Never saw Monsieur Verdoux.

What I found interesting about Keaton compared to Chaplin was how tenaciously he pursued his career after the silent movie era. He did several pretty good full length sound movies, directed and produce a number of films. He did a lot of grade B stuff, many supporting roles, and walkons. He did a lot cameos in TV sitcoms, variety shows, game shows. He wrote some screen plans, a couple of minor rolls on Broadway, TV commercials, and even county fairs.

After Chaplin was forced into leaving the US, he appeared in only a few movies, did some writing and a bit of composing. Unlike Keaton, Chaplin was very wealthy so didn't have to work once he left the States..
 
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Eric Arthur Blair

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I did enjoy The Great Dictator. Keaton was excellent in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Even in schlocky B movie comedies in the sixties (like Beach Blanket Bingo) Keaton was as good as you can be with such crap material.

One of the tragedies of his life as Hollywood was bringing in a no talent like Red Skelton and remaking Keaton movies with Buster coaching him through was Buster had to see this light weight make a career
using Buster's genius talent as a stepping stone.

That's Hollywood, squeezing out someone's talent, wringing him out and throwing him away
when it's all done. But maybe that's life in general, in many ways.
 

skye

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I have several bios of Charlie Chaplin, and what can we say, where can we start? ....the man was a genius. :up:
 
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Flopper

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I did enjoy The Great Dictator. Keaton was excellent in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Even in schlocky B movie comedies in the sixties (like Beach Blanket Bingo) Keaton was as good as you can be with such crap material.

One of the tragedies of his life as Hollywood was bringing in a no talent like Red Skelton and remaking Keaton movies with Buster coaching him through was Buster had to see this light weight make a career
using Buster's genius talent as a stepping stone.

That's Hollywood, squeezing out someone's talent, wringing him out and throwing him away
when it's all done. But maybe that's life in general, in many ways.
My understanding was Keaton had major problems with the studio system. At one point he was fired. In most of his silent movies he had near complete control but when he worked for the big studios, he had almost no freedom at all. His famous and hilarious stunts and ad hoc changes when shooting were not allowed by the studios. Stunt doubles did all stunts which killed the comedy.
Some say the studios main interest in Keaton was his name.

By contrast, Chaplin always had complete control of his movies. In Limelight which he starred in, he also produced, directed, cast, wrote, composed the music, and even played the piano solos in his compositions.
 
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hjmick

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His life is the stuff movies are made of. There were several movies about him but none came close to telling the story of this incredible artist.

The best might be Chaplin starring Robert Downey Jr.

Chaplin's daughter plays her grandmother, if I remember correctly.
 

Eric Arthur Blair

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My understanding was Keaton had real problems with the studio system. At one point he was fired. In most of his silent movies he had near complete control but when he worked with the big studios, he had almost no freedom at all. His famous and hilarious stunts and ad hoc changes when shooting were not allowed by the studios.
Some say the studios main interest in Keaton was his name.
Yeah, I'm sure all of that's true and Buster's drinking did not make things any better.
He was caught in between eras in a changing Hollywood. He had a very sad life in many ways.
But to me his genius was undeniable and he towered over his contemporaries.
 
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Flopper

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My understanding was Keaton had real problems with the studio system. At one point he was fired. In most of his silent movies he had near complete control but when he worked with the big studios, he had almost no freedom at all. His famous and hilarious stunts and ad hoc changes when shooting were not allowed by the studios.
Some say the studios main interest in Keaton was his name.
Yeah, I'm sure all of that's true and Buster's drinking did not make things any better.
He was caught in between eras in a changing Hollywood. He had a very sad life in many ways.
But to me his genius was undeniable and he towered over his contemporaries.
What I enjoy most about Keaton movies are his stunts. He did them all, no stunt doubles, no CGI, no trick photography and he made them funny. Keaton in an argument with the studio about using stunt doubles said, "they can do the stunts, but they won't be funny" and he was right.

 
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Flopper

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His life is the stuff movies are made of. There were several movies about him but none came close to telling the story of this incredible artist.

The best might be Chaplin starring Robert Downey Jr.

Chaplin's daughter plays her grandmother, if I remember correctly.
I think she played Chaplin's mother. I thought it was a so-so movie. Downey was very good. However, the story took too much dramatic license with Chaplin's life.

Not sure if it was in the movie, but there was a fascinating event that occurred after Chaplin was forced to leave the US. After a few years, he decided to break all ties with US, liquidating all his holdings which included his share of United Artists, real estate in California, shares in several businesses, and his home in LA. He could not return to the US so he sent his wife who was a US citizen. In addition to liquidating all his property he had another job for her, to dig up 1.5 million dollars buried in his backyard of his home. She did just that and hid the money in linings of clothes and other goods. According to Chaplin, in his tales of the foolish US government, it flew right through customs under ever watchful eyes of the government goons.
 

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