Friday, 28 August 2009

The Little Tramp

Who's that handsome, clean-shaven man? Why, it's Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin! (Yeah, I didn't know he was a Knight either) And no, that's not pre-mustache, it was a fake! Part of his 'Little Tramp' costume that was his character in most of his movies which he put together out of different bits from other people's costumes, only his cane was his own- the original mustache was paper-mache! Like Mary and Lillian, Charlie Chaplin was born into a family of English stage entertainers and was 25 before he started working in the movies and the Little Tramp character appeared for the first time in his second. Within one year of working in the movies Chaplin's salary skyrocketed from $150 a week to $1,250 a week! Though it is said that even once he became a millionaire he continued to live in a shoddy hotel room (he did finally get himself a mansion in Beverly Hills near Mary and Douglas Fairbanks's place- Pickfair, complete with tennis courts!) Within five years he joined with Mary, Doug, and Griffith to form the United Artists company. He was just as happy to write, film, and compose for his films as act in them!

At the first Academy Awards in 1929 Chaplin won an award "for versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing and producing" the film The Circuis. He returned in 1972 to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award. I have never seen a full Chaplin movie, but I did see quite a bit of 'Modern Times' (I was in the video room watching a fairly boring Griffith short film and the guy next to me was watching Chaplin- guess which film had both of our attentions?)


1914 Makin' A Living, Chaplin's Film Debut

1915 Burlesque on Carmen with Edna Purviance

1919 Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith

1919 Signing the contract to establish United Artists

1921 The Kid with Jackie Coogan

1931 City Lights with Virginia Cherrill

1936 Modern Times

With Mary Pickford on Douglas Fairbanks

All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.

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