Having given the biographical background, I would like to put forth my opinions on why Chaplin is such an inspiration to all the present generation of directors.

First of all, Chaplin was a perfectionist. It is evident from the fact that he reshot one scene in City Lights involving a blind girl, the tramp and a rich gentleman over 300 times to ensure that silence in his movies was never a handicap but an advantage. He would tax his actors till he got what he wanted. He would even fire them on unsatisfactory performance.

Chaplin was a thorough optimist. Having come from a poor background optimism was the key attribute that made Chaplin survive the fickle life of Hollywood where you are only as good as your last movie. His dialogues such as “You will never see the rainbows if you look down” (From the song ‘Smile’ in “The Circus” (1928)) and “Life is a magnificent thing, even to a Jellyfish” (From “Limelight” (1952)) reflect this fact.

Charlie was a true artist in the sense that he would make whatever changes to a scene to get the best end result. He would improvise on a script and would check if that was good enough. If not, he would continue improvising with the same vigour. Even on his deathbed when the reverend said ”May God have mercy on your soul”, Chaplin resorted to comedy, replying ”Why not, After all it belongs to Him

Even though he remained a comedian in his professional life, he was a very strict father. He would never be complacent on the freedom of his children. He never wanted them to be the kids of a famous father. He would take them to slums and show tem how the real world is.

Most importantly, he was the one who resurrected slapstick humour, which was thought to be primitive. In my opinion, Slapstick is the most fundamental of all comedies that any audience can associate to. The audience inherently likes physical movements and dark humour. Charlie Chaplin shows that slapstick is limitless and eternal even in Hollywood that thrives on sarcasm and raunchy humour for quick money.

Charles Chaplin was one person that made the world laugh, cry, resent, pity and most importantly THINK. Only such a ‘perfect maverick’ can redeem Hollywood and many other industries from their present state of decay. Without a shadow of a doubt, he is the greatest showman of the 20th century and will be the greatest for generations to come.

After a pleasant contract with Mutual Films, Charlie moved on to yet another production company, the First National. By this time Chaplin had audiences beyond the reach of his contemporaries. His work at First National resulted in some of the best Chaplin short movies ever made. Notably, “The Kid”, advertised as “Six reels of joy” that would break box office records and “A Dog’s Life” which is a must for any serious film buff. These movies had gained Chaplin the supreme throne in Hollywood making him the only actor to be paid a 7-digit salary.

Still unhappy with the independence given to directors Chaplin decided to start his own production company. Thus, the United Artists studio was born. Charlie was one of the owners of the company along with other eminent Hollywood celebrities, most notably, the controversial director D. W. Griffiths. Till date United Artists is one of the few companies that gives full freedom to debut directors. Charlie now moved on to full length feature films. During this period movie masterpieces such as “The Gold Rush” (1925) and “City Lights” (1931) were created. Chaplin was now a household name, even in the orient.

Even though talkies had started to come, Chaplin started his next silent project, “Modern Times” (1936). Contrary to popular opinion, the silent gem had broken all previous box office records and became the quintessential silent comedy of the century.

Chaplin then ventured into talking movies and started off with “The Great Dictator” (1940), a satire on world war. It also starred Paulette Goddard who would go on to become one of his wives. In the movie Chaplin plays a parody on Hitler (who incidentally was just 4 days younger than him) It is alleged that Hitler himself enjoyed the movie twice. Chaplin continued his work with groundbreaking movies such as “Monsieur Verdoux” (1947) and “Limelight” (1952).

Due to his political leaning and nationality, Chaplin was under the watch of the government and was practically exiled to Switzerland where he spent the rest of his life. He made just 2 movies after the incident owing to physical problems. Chaplin’s relationship with his women was an important part in his life. With 4 wives and alleged affairs with other women, Chaplin always had problems in personal life.

On the day of Christmas in 1977, Charles Chaplin passed away due to natural causes. The world had lost its Little Tramp. But, the work of this man was never to be erased from the pages of history.

“Dying is easy, comedy is tough” were the last words of George Bernard Shaw. Indeed. And that is the reason I’ve decided to dedicate a 3 part blog to Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, arguably the greatest comedian who ever lived.

I thought it would only be proper if some biographical information were given before I put forth my opinions. Born in a very poor family in London in 1889, Charles spent his child doing a number of petty jobs. His father, a drunkard would just make his condition worse. His mother, who apart from doing some tailoring work, would occasionally sing in the local theater. The big break came when his mother lost her voice during performance and Charlie was sent to perform without preparation. The show was a riot. People hurled money towards the stage. But Charlie’s struggles were to continue for a long time.

After his mother got admitted to a mental institution and half-brother Sidney sent off to sea, Charlie joined the Karno Pantomime where he performed in key roles. One such role, an old drunk, caught the attention of American movie mogul Mack Sennett who immediately asked him to come to his workplace, Keystone studios. On arrival at the studio, Sennett could not believe that the old drunk was impeccably played by this 25 year old. After a lot of opposition by the studio crew, Charlie completed his first movie “Making a living” in 1914 where he plays a bogus reporter.

But the “tramp” was not to be seen until his next short “Kid Auto races at Venice”. This costume actually borrowed from many artists in parts, was the brainchild of Chaplin himself. The short was a huge hit and the tramp would be ruling the world for the next two decades. The audience had now found a new hero and the demand of Chaplin shorts had shot up. To cope up to this, Keystone pressed Chaplin to complete many shorts in a single day, a result of which Chaplin moved on to Essanay studios.

At Essanay, Chaplin got frustrated with the primitive comic sense of the prevalent directors and started to do the direction of his own movies. This not only resulted in some fine short movies but also a growing friction between Chaplin and the studio directors. So once again, Charlie moved on to a new studio, Mutual Films, seeking more independence in his movies. Knowing Chaplin’s audience base, Mutual Films gave him the nod. Chaplin’s skill as a fine director is evident in the short films that were born in this period. This was the period where Chaplin met Edna Purviance who was later to become his lifelong friend.