It’s official

I finished reading Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography late last week, and I am now officially obsessed. After I was done, I missed reading it before bed. Luckily I had queued up a bunch of his films on Netflix. I watched “City Lights” early on Sunday and basically never stopped watching or reading Chaplin-related stuff the whole day (turns out there’s tons of obsessed fans who create YouTube mashups or compilations. Today has felt incomplete without being inundated with the Tramp.

One of the YouTube compilation vids featured what appeared to be Chaplin in drag. The author kindly sent me all her pics of Charlie dressed in high flapper gear. Here’s a couple.

close-up

with a suitor

I think the biggest reason (beyond his pure genius) I love him is because of his politics. The fact that he was driven from America shortly after he began his talking pictures proved what a powerful political voice he could have become. In some ways I feel like he was born slightly too early. That if he’d been born 10 or 20 years later, he could have been the old guy amongst the hippies chanting for peace. But he certainly wouldn’t have the comic talent he had if he was born later. He was very old-fashioned, and lagged behind the times in Hollywood in many ways. He was more innovative in his politics and comedy than in his directing films.

He reminds me a lot of John Lennon. Both are English, spent much of their adult lives in America, slept around and didn’t really settle down until late in life, followed by the FBI because of their strong leftist leanings, led their field in terms of talent and popularity, and made daring art for their time.

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