Posts Tagged ‘Charles Chaplin’

CHAPLIN – John Barry

January 26, 2023 2 comments


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Considering that he was one of the most important and transformative figures in the history of cinema, it’s somewhat surprising that there wasn’t a biopic of Charlie Chaplin until 1992. The film was a labor of love for director Richard Attenborough; it was written by a trio of literature greats – William Boyd, Bryan Forbes, and William Goldman – and starred the then 27-year old Robert Downey Jr. in the role that marked his transition from youthful movies to serious adult cinema. The film charts Chaplin’s entire life and career, from his impoverished childhood growing up in Victorian London, to his first brushes with showbusiness via Fred Karno’s vaudeville theatre, his move to the United States in 1914, and his gradual rise to fame via his iconic ‘tramp’ character in silent films such as The Kid, The Gold Rush, and City Lights. It also reveals his tempestuous private life – various love affairs and failed marriages – as well as his political conflicts with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, which eventually led to him fleeing America for Europe at the height of his fame amid accusations of communist sympathies. The film climaxes with Chaplin’s glorious return to Hollywood in 1972 after decades in exile, when he received an honorary Oscar for ‘the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century’. Read more…

THE GREAT DICTATOR – Charles Chaplin and Meredith Willson

April 18, 2022 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

The genesis of The Great Dictator film arose when renowned producer-director Alexander Korda pointed out to Charlie Chaplin that he bore a striking resemblance to Adolf Hitler. Chaplin’s research revealed that they were born withing a week of each other, were approximately the same height and weight, and both emerged from poverty during their early life to achieve success. An additional stimulus to make the film came from German director Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 film Triumph of Will, which made a comic impression on Chaplin. The film would be Chaplin’s first all-talking all-sound film and he decided to finance it with his own production company, allocating a $2 million budget. He would also direct, write the screenplay, jointly compose the score, and star in the film. For his cast, Chaplin would play the Jewish barber and Adenoid Hynkel – the Great Dictator. Joining him would be Paulette Goddard as Hannah, Jack Oakie as, Henry Daniell as Benzino Napolini, Reginald Gardiner as Commander Schultz, Billy Gilbert as Herring, and Maurice Moscovich as Mr. Jaeckel. Read more…

MODERN TIMES – Charles Chaplin

February 28, 2022 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Charlie Chaplin’s inspiration for the film Modern Times arose from the deplorable social and economic conditions that he found in Europe in the aftermath of the Great Depression. A personal conversation with Mahatma Gandhi about the negative effects of modern technology on people’s lives was also instrumental. In 1934 he began conceiving the film’s story, which would serve as his first ‘talkie’ film. However, he abandoned this and instead chose to make his last silent film with the Tramp character as he felt the universal appeal of him would be lost with dialogue. Once again he would oversee production, direct, write the screenplay, compose the music, and star in the film. Joining him would be Paulette Goddard as Ellen Petersen, Henry Bergman as the café proprietor, Stanley “Tiny” Sanford as Big Bill and Chester Conklin as the Mechanic. Read more…

CITY LIGHTS – Charles Chaplin

February 7, 2022 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Entering the 1920s Charlie Chaplin had become a global sensation, his career ascendent. In 1929 he conceived a new film, “City Lights”, a passion project in which he would produce, direct, write the screenplay, compose the score, and star. Chaplin was a perfectionist and it would take him 534 days of filming to realize his vision. He faced significant resistance from his studio United Artists who were not happy with his decision to eschew a talkie film, and instead stubbornly make another silent film, although one with a synchronous and original score. For Chaplin, his art and passion was pantomime, with his Tramp character beloved by the world and legend. He saw talkie films as a harbinger for the end of his art, and so his reaction was understandable. And so, he proceeded with his vision and a budget of $1.5 million dollars was provided. The cast included Chaplin as the Tramp, Virginia Cherrill as the blind Flower Girl, Florence Lee as the grandmother, Harry Myers as the eccentric millionaire, Al Ernest Garcia as the butler, and Hank Mann as the prizefighter. Read more…

LIMELIGHT – Charles Chaplin, Raymond Rasch, and Larry Russell

April 18, 2016 1 comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Charles Chaplin produced, directed, wrote the screenplay and starred in Limelight, a story is set in London, 1914 on the eve of World War I. Calvero (Chaplin) is a famous stage clown who has fallen on bad times and descended into alcoholism. By chance he comes to rescue Terry (Claire Bloom) from herself, as she was poised to commit suicide. He shelters her and helps to heal her, and in so doing, heals himself, regaining his confidence and will to live. Terry falls in love with Calvero, but he believes the age difference is wrong, and that the younger Neville (Sydney Chaplin) would be a more appropriate match. And so Calvero sets off on his own, becoming a street entertainer. Terry rebounds and lands a leading role in a stage production. She is thankful for her new life and so invites Calvero to return to his first love, the stage. He agrees, and reunites with his old partner (Buster Keaton) and brings the house down with a magnificent performance. At this grand moment, tragedy strikes as he succumbs to a heart attack during the second act while Terry is performing. The film is a a truly remarkable achievement, with a stellar cast that supports his passion project. Noteworthy is the fact that in the final musical number we bear witness to the only time Chaplin and Keaton – two iconic actors – ever performed together. Read more…