A Tribute to Charlie Chaplin
While many silent film stars have been forgotten by the general public, most of their work lost forever, “Charlie Chaplin” is still a household name in most of the world.
This is partly due to the fact that Mr. Chaplin was an astute businessperson, retaining ownership of his films, carefully preserving them, and rereleasing them on a regular basis to new audiences. But it is also because Charlie Chaplin, The Little Tramp — who was distinctly different from Charles Chaplin himself, despite Freud’s opinion that Chaplin basically played himself as he was in his “dismal” youth — was a universal character who appealed to every person who has ever been poor, downtrodden, or put-upon.
And I do mean every person. Even Adolf Hitler loved Chaplin so much that he trimmed his handlebar mustache to match The Little Tramp’s — which later made it easier for the strongly anti-fascist Chaplin to parody Hitler in The Great Dictator.
So popular was Chaplin that at the very first Oscar ceremonies, the Academy decided to remove his name from the competition and instead give him a Special Award for versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing for The Circus. They knew he would walk away with everything. His next nomination wasn’t until 1941, and in 1972 he was given an honorary Oscar “For the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century.” That was truly an understatement. Before Chaplin, “the pictures” were just that: Pictures.
Here’s something to ponder, in these days of rich, talentless teenage stars: When Chaplin became the first millionaire to emerge from the movie industry, he was only 29 years old.
And so we celebrate what would have been Sir Charles Chaplin’s birthday by gathering together all the many Internet resources that can help us understand this remarkable life and career. There are many of them, of course, and many opinions about his personal life, his public career, his politics, and his films. Rather than belabor the subject further, I’ll let his various fans speak for themselves.
Part I: Introduction
Part III: Movie Reviews & Where to Find His Movies
Part IV: Books, Photos, Art, and Posters