The Essence of Chaplin

The Style, the Rhythm and the Grace of a Master


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About the Book

Charlie Chaplin’s remarkable life and comedic talent have been the focus of countless popular and scholarly studies. In this groundbreaking work, Chaplin’s often underrated skills as a film director take center stage. Highlighting the screen icon’s significance as a filmmaker, this study focuses on the heart of Chaplin’s cinema—his silent works starring his alter-ego, Charlie—and examines both his great silent film features like The Kid, The Gold Rush and Modern Times, and his shorter, earlier films like The Immigrant, The Pawn Shop, The Pilgrim and A Dog’s Life. An analysis of the formal properties of Chaplin’s filmmaking reveals the merit of his cinema, the depth of its emotion and the extent of its meaning. Chaplin is among the great artists of any medium, in any time, with an ability to touch on very subtle aspects of the human condition.

About the Author(s)

John Fawell, a professor of humanities in the College of General Studies at Boston University, has written books on Alfred Hitchcock, Sergio Leone and the studio-era Hollywood film, as well as provided the film commentary for Universal Studio’s Blu-ray release of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. He lives in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

John Fawell
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7634-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1743-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction   1

One: The Biography   11

Two: Charlie’s ­Role-Playing   25

Three: Chaplin’s Satire   37

Four: Beyond Satire: What Charlie Believes In   53

Five: Chaplin and the Intimacy of the Camera   65

Six: The Concrete and the Suggestive   81

Seven: Chaplin’s Filmmaking Skills   94

Eight: Chaplin’s Sense of Balance   116

Nine: Balance in the Character of Charlie   129

Ten: Charlie and Women   145

Eleven: Charlie, Dogs and Children   168

Twelve: Charlie and Men   185

Thirteen: Chaplin and Rhythm   200

Fourteen: Dance   208

Fifteen: Chaplin’s Music   217

Sixteen: Two Musical Sequences   227

Chapter Notes   243

Bibliography   247

Index   249

Book Reviews & Awards

Best Film Book—Huffington Post