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Charlie Chaplin

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Considered one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of American cinema, his numerous movies have remained hugely popular and even reached cult status worldwide for close to 100 years.

His personal life was subject to as much scrutiny as his films---he fathered 11 children with 4 different wives (his last a 17 year old to his 54); he was investigated in the 1940's by FBI chief J Edgar Hoover and the House Un-American Activities Council; his identification with the left ultimately forced him to resettle in Europe during the McCarthy era in the early 1950s.

He was ranked #10 Greatest Male screen legend in 1999 by The American Film Institute. He received a knigthhood and won three Academy Awards. He directed and starred in four of the American Film Institute's 100 Funniest Movies: The Gold Rush (1925) at #25, Modern Times (1936) at #33, The Great Dictator (1940) at #37 and City Lights (1931) at #38. The Great Dictator was both critisized and heralded for its humorous caricature of Hitler. His 'little tramp' is one of most widely recognized and beloved characters of all time. It has even been suggested that Adolph Hitler was well aware of how loved Charlie was throughout the world at that time, and this was the reason he grew the Chaplin moustache: he thought it would endear him to the people (Source: The Tramp and the Dictator).

In 1919, he and fellow director D.W. Griffith, and the silent screen legends Doulgas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford founded United Artist studio(UA), the better to control their own destinies during the emerging studio system. He served on the board of UA until the early 1950s. Regardless of the ups and downs of his personal life there is no denying his genius as director, actor, composer, song writer, coreographer and producer.

The four listed above are all excellent---also consider The Kid, a 10/10 on the sob-o-meter; The Essential Charlie Chaplin featuring 4 shorts; Charlies Essanay Comedies, volume1,2,3 (The Essanay Film Manufacturing Company was an American motion picture studio best known for its series of Charlie Chaplin comedies of 1915); Unknown Chaplin. We also have numerous books on the man and his films. Use Charlie Chaplin as your search term in our on-line catalogue to bring up everything CC, or follow this link.

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