Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chaplin: A Life in Film by Stephen Weissman, with an introduction by Geraldine Chaplin

An authoritative new biography of the life and times of the greatest comedian of all time.

Born in April 1889, Charlie Chaplin grew up in dire poverty, his father a hopeless alcoholic, his mother driven mad from syphilis. Young Charlie cut his theatrical teeth in British music halls. He arrived penniless in America at the age of twenty-five and within a few short years was not only a millionaire but a worldwide celebrity.

This new biography traces his life in meticulous detail, demonstrating how his tragic childhood formed both his personality and his art. Infamous for his politics and his scandalous sex life, Chaplin was a much more complex and contradictory character than has hitherto been known. Here a whole new light is cast both on the screen legend and on the turbulent era through which he lived.


My Review:
The comedic genius of Charlie Chaplin continues to be a compelling study, and this volume has the stamp of approval from Geraldine Chaplin, his firstborn. This exhaustive account of his life involves carefully detailed research. A most interesting read, I enjoyed discovering facts about the legend, Charlie Chaplin.

For example: To relieve himself of the responsibility of paying child support, Chaplin's father pushed for Charlie to become involved with performing. Those earnings would help with the household expenses. It was when Chaplin had laryngitis that his brother came up with the idea of Charlie playing Drunken Swell, a non-speaking part. Another insight is that his role of the "drunken heckler," is based on the very audiences who enjoyed seeing him play it. Chaplin turned a mirror on his audiences! No wonder he was able to capture humanity so well.

Set straight are the discrepancies of former biographies, along with the record once and for all that Charlie Chaplin was no communist. This is a book I can recommend.

2 comments:

CHAPLIN A LIFE said...

THANKS FOR YOUR GENEROUS REVIEW. TO SUPPLEMENT THE BOOK A WEBSITE HAS BEEN CREATED TO PROVIDE FILM CLIPS AND PHOTOGRAPHS ILLUSTRATING THEMES IN THE BOOK: please go to
www.chaplinalife.com

Hi! I'm Grace said...

I like Chaplin... but I didn't know so much of him until now... thanks for the info :)