From The Guardian: “This year marks the 100th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s first appearance on the silver screen. As a legend of silent cinema, who maintained his popularity even when the industry reinvented itself through the introduction of sound, Chaplin made audiences the world over, laugh, cry and dream.”
The Guardian’s Clip Joint focuses today on the greatness of Charlie Chaplin and while the list is decent, there are a couple of clips that I would most definitely have included being that I am a longtime Chaplin fan.
For those who are unfamiliar with Chaplin’s work and brush him away as too old-fashioned, I offer these clips as proof of his genius, one of a multi-faceted comedian the likes of which we have not been graced with since his passing. This is all in hopes one might find a reason to further explore Chaplin’s extensive film library.
Modern Times remains my second favorite of his features (trailing City Lights) because of the multitude of exceptional comedic bits he was able to orchestrate. The following are only two from the many, but are emblematic of the greatness that is Modern Times:
The Tramp in Mistaken Protest:
The Tramp on Cocaine:
City Lights is my favorite of the Chaplin set and is elevated by not only the consistently funny situations he and his drunken partner become embroiled within, but the humanity he infuses into the boy-meets-girl relationship, normally portrayed as dull and paper-thin. Instead of allowing this relationship to take a back seat and simply punctuate The Tramp’s singular journey, he transforms this relationship into a living, breathing, and ultimately heartbreaking exchange between a blind girl, who now can see because of a selfless act of the Tramp. The kicker is, the girl thinks the man who afforded her the money for the operation is of wealthy stock and doesn’t know the Tramp was her benefactor. Upon release from prison (where he served time for his acts in acquiring the money for her operation) he reappears to visit the girl with her eyesight restored. What transpires comprises one of the greatest finales in cinema:
And if you have the time, one of my favorite shorts from Chaplin, “A Night at the Show” from 1915. It runs a little over twenty minutes, but it is well worth the time to see Chaplin masterfully portray both a low-class drunk in the balcony and a rich, self-obsessed, scoundrel (also drunk) who gets shuffled around within the expensive seats:
To check out the Guardian clips, click here.