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Chaplin:  Genius of the Cinema

Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema
Jeffrey Vance
New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003
PN2287 .C5 V34 2003

Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) was the first global cinema star and one of the greatest comic geniuses the world has ever known. His creation, the Tramp, remains to this day the most universal representation of humanity in the history of film. "You know this fellow is many-sided," wrote Chaplin of his character, "a tramp, a gentleman, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure."

The Tramp's ruthless pursuit of the fruits of abundance and happiness and his righteous battles against those who bar his way reflect the same struggles that consumed Chaplin throughout most of his life. Indeed, Chaplin's description of his multidimensional screen character is also fitting of the artist himself: an actor, writer, director, producer, editor, and composer with more than seventy-five years of creative accomplishment.

Produced with full access to the Chaplin family archives, this book chronicles his entire complex life story in 500 photographs - many of them recently discovered and never before published - newly printed from the original negatives especially for this volume. Author Jeffrey Vance draws on exhaustive research and interviews with those who knew Chaplin to produce this definitive illustrated account, describing in lively detail the atmosphere on Chaplin's film sets and his relationships with the cast and crew, his first attempts at comedy sequences that later became famous, the development of his scenarios and characters, and the main themes and ideas that persist through the major Chaplin films: The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), and Limelight (1952).

Chaplin's enthralling rags-to-riches life story is also represented in these pages, every stage of which is documented in pictures: his poverty-stricken childhood in late-Victorian London, where he began his career as an entertainer in the music halls; his unparalleled success in Hollywood, from the rough-and- tumble Keystone shorts to the feature-length masterpieces made under his complete artistic control; his numerous romances and four marriages; his political persecution during the anti-communist witch hunts; and his happy years of quiet, self-imposed exile in Switzerland. Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema is the essential volume on the extraordinary life and career of the incomparable comedian, groundbreaking filmmaker, and multifaceted public figure who left an indelible imprint on cinema and culture.

Quoted from dust jacket.