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Sunday, April 17, 2011

About Charlie Chaplin


Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE (16 April 1889 - 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, film director and composer best-known for his work during the silent film period. He became one of the most famous film stars in the world before the end of World War I. Chaplin used mime, funny side and other visual comedy routines, and continued well into the era of the talkies, though his films decreased in frequency from the end of the 1920s.
His most famous role was that of The Tramp, which he first played in the Keystone comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice in 1914. From the April 1914 one-realer Twenty Minutes of Love onwards he was writing and directing most of his films, by 1916 he was also producing them, and from 1918 he was even composing the music for them. With Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith, he co-founded United Artists in 1919.
Chaplin was one of the most creative and influential personalities of the silent-film era. He was influenced by his predecessor, the French silent film comedian Max Linder, to whom he dedicated one of his films. His working life in entertainment spanned over 75 years, from the Victorian stage and the Music Hall in the United Kingdom as a child performer, until close to his death at the age of 88. His high-profile public and private life encompassed both adulation and controversy. Chaplin's identification with the left ultimately forced him to resettle in Europe during the McCarthy era in the early 1950s.
In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Chaplin the 10th greatest male screen legend of all time. In 2008, Martin Sieff, in a review of the book Chaplin: A Life wrote: "Chaplin was not just 'big', he was gigantic. In 1915, he burst onto a war-torn world bringing it the gift of comedy, laughter and relief while it was tearing itself apart through World War I. Over the next 25 years, through the Great Depression and the rise of Adolf Hitler, he stayed on the job. It is uncertain any individual has ever given more entertainment, pleasure and relief to so many person beings when they needed it the most". George Bernard Shaw called Chaplin "the only genius to come out of the movie industry".
Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on 16 April 1889, supposedly in East Street, Walworth, and London, England. In 2011, a letter, written to him in the 1970s, came to light, suggesting that he had been born in a gypsy caravan at Black Patch Park in Smethwick, Staffordshire. His parents were entertainers in the music hall tradition; his father, Charles Spencer Chaplin Sr, was a vocalist and an actor while his mother, Hannah Chaplin, was a singer and an actress who went by the stage name Lilly Harley. They separated before Charlie was three. He learned singing from his parents. The 1891 census shows that his mother lived with Charlie and his older half-brother Sydney on Barlow Street, Walworth.
First years in the United States (1910-1913)
Chaplin first tour the United States with the Fred Karno troupe from 1910 to 1912. After five months in England, he returned to the U.S. for a second tour, arriving with the Karno Troupe on 2 October 1912. In the Karno Company was Arthur Stanley Jefferson, who later became known as Stan Laurel. Chaplin and Laurel shared a room in a boarding house. Laurel returned to England but Chaplin remained in the United States.
In late 1913, Chaplin's act with the Karno Troupe was seen by Mack Sennett, Mabel Normand, Minta Durfee, and "Fatty" Arbuckle. Sennett hired him for his studio, the Keystone Film Company as a replacement for Ford genuine. Chaplin had considerable complexity adjust to the demands of film acting and his presentation suffered for it. After Chaplin's first film appearance, making a Living was filmed; Sennett felt he had made a costly mistake. Most historians agree it was Normand who convinced him to give Chaplin another chance.
Pioneering film artist and global celebrity (1916-1918)
In 1916, the Mutual Film Corporation paid Chaplin US$670,000 to produce a dozen two reel comedies. He was given near complete artistic control, and produced twelve films over an eighteen-month period that rank among the most powerful comedy films in all cinemas. Of his Mutual comedies, the best known include: Easy Street, One A.M., The Pawnshop, and The Adventurer. Edna Purveyance remained the leading lady, and Chaplin added Eric Campbell, Henry Bergman, and Albert Austin to his stock company; Campbell, a Gilbert and Sullivan veteran, provided superb villainy, and second bananas Bergman and Austin would remain with Chaplin for decades.
Chaplin regarded the Mutual period as the happiest of his career, although he also had concerns that the films during that time were becoming formulaic owing to the stringent production schedule his contract required. Upon the U.S. entering World War I, Chaplin became a spokesman for Liberty Bonds with his close friend Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.
United Artists (1919-1939)
In 1919, Chaplin co-founded the United Artists film distribution company with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith, all of whom were seeking to escape the growing power consolidation of film distributors and financiers in the rising Hollywood studio system. This move, along with complete control of his film production through his studio, assured Chaplin's independence as a film-maker. He served on the board of UA until the early 1950s.
The Great Dictator (1940)
Chaplin's first talking picture, The Great Dictator (1940), was an act of defiance against Nazism. It was filmed and released in the United States one year before the U.S. entry into World War II. Chaplin played the role of "Adenoid Hynkel",[34] Dictator of Tomainia, modelled on German dictator Adolf Hitler, who was only four days his junior and sported a similar moustache. The film also showcased comedian Jack Oakie as "Benzino Napaloni", dictator of Bacteria, a jab at Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
Since the 1960s, Chaplin's films have been compared to those of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, especially among the loyal fans of each comic.
The three had different styles: Chaplin had a strong affinity for sentimentality and pathos (which was popular in the 1920s), Lloyd was famous for his everyman persona and 1920s optimism, and Keaton adhered to onscreen stoicism with a cynical tone more suited to modern audiences.
Commercially, Chaplin made some of the highest-grossing films in the silent era; The Gold Rush is the fifth with US$4.25 million and The Circus is the seventh with US$3.8 million. However, Chaplin's films combined made about US$10.5 million while Harold Lloyd's grossed US$15.7 million. Lloyd was far more prolific, releasing twelve feature films in the 1920s while Chaplin released just three.
Buster Keaton's films were not nearly as commercially successful as Chaplin's or Lloyd's even at the height of his popularity, and only received belated critical acclaim in the late 1950s and 1960s.
There is evidence that Chaplin and Keaton, who both got their start in vaudeville, thought highly of one another: Keaton stated in his memoirs that Chaplin was the greatest comedian that ever lived, and the greatest comedy director, whereas Chaplin welcomed Keaton to United Artists in 1925, advised him against his disastrous move to MGM in 1928, and for his last American film, Limelight, wrote a part specifically for Keaton as his first on-screen comedy partner since 1915.
Final works (1957-1976)
Chaplin's final two films were made in London: A King in New York (1957) in which he starred, wrote, directed and produced; and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), which he directed, produced, and wrote. The latter film stars Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando, and Chaplin made his final on-screen appearance in a brief cameo role as a seasick steward.
He also composed the music for both films with the theme song from A Countess From Hong Kong, "This is My Song", reaching number one in the UK as sung by Petula Clark. Chaplin also compiled a film The Chaplin Revue from three First National films A Dog's Life (1918), Shoulder Arms (1918) and The Pilgrim (1923) for which he composed the music and record a preliminary narration. As well as directing these final films, Chaplin also wrote My Autobiography, between 1959 and 1963, which was published in 1964.
Death (1977)
Chaplin's robust health began to slowly fail in the late 1960s, after the completion of his final film A Countess from Hong Kong, and more rapidly after he received his Academy Award in 1972. By 1977, he had difficulty communicating, and was using a wheelchair. Chaplin died in his sleep in Vevey, Switzerland on Christmas Day 1977.

Daily Predictions - April 17, 2011

Daily Predictions - April 17, 2011

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