New PDF release: Charlie Chaplin: A Life In Film

By Richard Schickel

Charlie Chaplin—beloved by means of his iteration, approximately forgotten today—was a cinematic visionary in unending clash together with his occasions. It seems, mythical movie critic Richard Schickel argues, that his existence used to be way more interesting than any of the Little Tramp's adventures. Here's his tale.

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Additional info for Charlie Chaplin: A Life In Film

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U n l i k e educational documentaries (or Kulturfilme), this was an abstract celebration of the city, as was People on Sunday (1929), a collaboration b e t w e e n R o b e r t S i o d m a k , Fred Z i n n e m a n n , Edgar G . U l m e r and B i l l y W i l d e r . A l l four w o u l d later prosper in H o l l y w o o d , along w i t h the m a n y others w h o had left G e r m a n y f o l l o w i n g the Parufamet A g r e e m e n t . T h e i r exile and Ufa's 42 Berlin, Symphony of a Great City (Walter Ruttmann, 1927): a 'montage documentary', one of many fine 'city symphonies' of the period, including Cavalcanti's Rien que les hemes.

A u d i e n c e s e v e r y w h e r e identified w i t h this outsider w h o yearned for comfort t h o u g h despising its shallowness. C o n s i s t e n d y r o o t e d i n the p o v e r t y o f his L o n d o n c h i l d h o o d , Chaplin's c o m e d y was always v e r y personal, c o m b i n i n g nostalgia w i t h a horror of social injustice. D e r i v i n g m u c h of his h u m o u r from character and locale, he used films like Easy Street and The Immigrant (both 1 9 1 7 ) to tackle such controversial topics as drug abuse, street crime and prostitution, w h i l e balletic comedies, including The Rink, The Floorwalker (both 1916) and The Cure ( 1 9 1 7 ) , w h i c h D e b u s s y admired for their r h y t h m and energy, a l l o w e d h i m simply to demonstrate his genius as a c l o w n .

R e n o w n e d for its artistry and controversial films such as H o l g e r Madsen's The Morphine Takers ( 1 9 1 1 ) , Danish cinema reached its peak in 1916 in order to m e e t the demands of G e r m a n theatres suffering from wartime isolation. Y e t , as normality b e g a n to return in 1 9 1 7 , the 54 industry spiralled into decline. N o r d i s k , founded in 1906 and still operating today, saw output drop from 124 features in 1 9 1 6 to just one i n 1928. T h e directors Stellan R y e (1880-1914) and U r b a n G a d (1879—1947) and the silent superstar Asta N i e l s e n (1883—1972, creator of the vamp) had already departed for G e r m a n y in 1 9 1 2 because of the limited resources generated by the small domestic market, and this n e w crisis p r o m p t e d a similar e x o d u s .

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