Movies

Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp: “It was really my father’s alter ego”

Brody-Charlie-Chaplins-Scandalous-Life-and-Boundless-Artistry-969

The most un-put-downable movie book of the season is also the most un-pick-uppable one: “The Charlie Chaplin Archives” (Taschen), which is the size of a small suitcase and weighs in at fourteen pounds, packed tightly with five hundred and sixty pages’ worth of thick and glossy paper bearing a treasure trove of superbly printed images alongside a relentlessly fascinating collage-like textual biography of Chaplin. It’s an apt tribute to the filmmaker, whose artistry transcends the cinema and spans world-historical dimensions.

(…)

The most un-put-downable movie book of the season is also the most un-pick-uppable one: “The Charlie Chaplin Archives” (Taschen), which is the size of a small suitcase and weighs in at fourteen pounds, packed tightly with five hundred and sixty pages’ worth of thick and glossy paper bearing a treasure trove of superbly printed images alongside a relentlessly fascinating collage-like textual biography of Chaplin. It’s an apt tribute to the filmmaker, whose artistry transcends the cinema and spans world-historical dimensions.

(…)

In Great Britain, he made the loftily furious comedy “A King in New York,” with its raging satire on urban modernity, advertising, television, Hollywood, plastic surgery, rock and roll, and—above all—McCarthyite investigations and persecutions. Though he was politically free, he faced difficulties in a British studio, where the working methods were constrained by sedimented traditions and stringent union regulations.

(…)

His last film, “A Countess from Hong Kong,” shot in 1966, stars Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren. The book reveals that, though the substance of the story derived from his reminiscences of a 1936 visit to China with the actress Paulette Goddard, the spark of the story was Chaplin’s admiration for John F. Kennedy, on whom Brando’s role was to be based.

Read the full article in The New Yorker here.

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