Monday, October 10, 2011

Charlie Chaplin

One of the projects on my list of "Please let me get around to writing all of these before I die" is a Charlie Chaplin musical. He could do anything. Writer, Director, performer, composer. It's no wonder George Bernard Shaw called him "the only genius to come out of the movie industry."

I've been studying the nature of genius a lot lately for my thesis on artistic communities. It's been nice to delve back into his work and the partnership he formed with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks with United Artists. But my soft spot for ol' Charlie is long-standing. He was was one of my first talent-crushes since I saw the amazing biopic with Robert Downey Junior when I was a kid. (Check out this ULTRA 90'stastic trailer) Then I started watching all his films. 

The man who wrote "Smile" is one of the most genuinely moving people to witness. Not just funny, though obviously he was. He was so vulnerable. Even in comedies, even without speaking, there was something heartbreaking about his every moment on screen. I cry every time I watch The Kid. And I'm not exaggerating when I say I'd name my hypothetical kid Chaplin. 

I can't help thinking that what called Chaplin to speak for the first time in his films, in The Great Dictator-- which he funded with his own money-- holds just as true or truer today. 

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