The Music of Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin the actor is universally synonymous with his beloved Tramp character. Chaplin the director is considered one of the great auteurs and innovators of cinema history. Less well known is Chaplin the composer, whose instrumental theme for Modern Times (1936) later became the popular standard “Smile,” a Billboard hit for Nat “King” Cole in 1954.
Chaplin was prolific yet could not read or write music. It took a rotating cast of talented musicians to translate his unorthodox humming, off-key singing, and amateur piano and violin playing into the singular orchestral vision he heard in his head.
Drawing on numerous transcriptions from 60 years of original scores, this comprehensive study reveals the untold story of Chaplin the composer and the string of famous (and not-so-famous) musicians he employed, giving fresh insight into his films and shedding new light on the man behind the icon.