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CHARLIE CHAPLIN
Best of Film

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CHARLIE CHAPLIN#5 Greatest Film Directors
CHARLIE CHAPLIN

by Joshua Starnes

An argument can be made about Charlie Chaplin's skill as a director as never directed anyone but himself in his films. There were other people in them, too, and whole scenes when he wasn't around, but they were ultimately all about him. But that's okay because there was a lot of Chaplin to go around.

Writer, director, editor and composer, Chaplin was the singular author of his films in a way modern directors can only dream of. They've gotten too large, too complex, to time consuming. It's hard to imagine a time when a short could be completed in a week. But in Chaplin's time, a card reading A Film By Charlie Chaplin really meant it.

The question is, would Chaplin have been Chaplin if he hadn't been in control of every aspect of production? Certainly he worked for other directors first, coming up as one of Mack Sennet's company players.

But it wasn't until Chaplin took over behind the camera, and switched to features, that the Chaplin we know -- the Chaplin of the Little Tramp, of "Modern Times" "The Gold Rush" and most importantly "City Lights" -- was born.

The telling sign, though, isn't Chaplin himself but the actors around him. Chaplin new emotion, new how to evoke it without sentimentality or mawkishness. More than that, he knew how to make his actors evoke it as well. Without Virginia Cherrill's heartfelt performance, "City Lights" would not be what it is.

A specialist of the Silent Era, Chaplin never stopped making them, even when he was making 'talkies.' The coming of the sound era didn't stop him, he kept working for many years after "The Jazz Singer" premiered making some of his best films in the sound era, but his output and his reputation are indelibly linked to that period. Which is probably what makes his films stand out so much. Silent films are in many ways the exercises in pure cinema, by necessity telling their stories entirely through visuals, acting through facial performance. A lot of the techniques of that period have been lost, but many remain and through them the great masters of the silent era still make their presence felt. And Chaplin was an unquestioned master of the silent film, perhaps the master. Because while the other greats of the time did their work with clever visuals and new techniques, Chaplin his style for the performances themselves.

The KidThe Kid
1921
dir.. Chaplin
starring
Chaplin
Jackie Coogan

The Gold RushThe Gold Rush
1925
dir. Chaplin
Starring
Chaplin
Georgia Hale

The Great DictatorThe Great Dictator
1941
dir. Chaplin
starring
Chaplin
Paulette Goddard


WATCH TOP 10 CHARLIE CHAPLIN FILMS MOVIE SCENES

10. PAY DAY - Charlie Chaplin's "Pay Day" came out April 2 1922. It was one of his First National productions.

9. CHAPLIN SPEAKS - Clip from the Charlie Chaplin film, The Great Dictator. Property of United Artists

8. THE CIRCUS - The mirror maze sequence from The Circus (1928) by Charlie Chaplin

7. GREAT DICTATOR GLOBE SCENE - A classic scene of cinema, Chaplin's dance with the globe.

6. MODERN TIMES - Watch the classic factory scene from Charlie Chaplin

5. CITY LIGHTS BOXING - The boxing scene from the movie "city lights" which was directed by Charles Chaplin and was released in 1931

4. CITY LIGHTS - City Lights is a film to pick for the time capsule, a film that best represents the many aspects of director-writer-star Charles Chaplin at the peak of his powers:

3. THE GOLD RUSH - The shoe scene from the movie "The Gold Rush" which was written and directed by Charles Chaplin and was released in 1925.

2. MODERN TIMES - Watch the classic factory scene from Charlie Chaplin

1. CHAPLIN LIMELIGHT - Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in the same scene of the film LIMELIGHT

ALSO -

BEST OF CHAPLIN - Montage of the best of Charlie Chaplin

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CHARLIE CHAPLIN