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Detail of Biography - Charlie Chaplin
Name :
Charlie Chaplin
Date :
Views :
468
Category :
Birth Date :
16/04/1889
Birth Place :
Walworth, London, England.
Death Date :
25 December 1977
Biography - Charlie Chaplin
[b]Charles[/b] Spencer Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889 in Walworth, London, England. Charles Chaplin Sr. and his wife Hannah Harriette Hill were Vaudeville performers. Charles was born into atmosphere of a family of entertainers. He lived a Dickensian childhood, shared with his half-brother Sydney, which included extreme poverty, workhouses and hurdles.[br /]
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He did not like other children or their company and could not really relate or communicate with them.[br /]
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Charlie's mother was an immense source of inspiration from whom he learned both, performance techniques and outlook of life. His mother was a singer and character comedienne in the music halls with the stage name of 'Lilly Harley'. [br /]
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His father was a well-known comedian, composer and a music hall baritone. His marriage to Hennah did not last long and they separated. Charlie was left to be brought up by his mother. After separation his mother returned to stage, performing different solo acts for sometime. She did enjoy success.[br /]
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Charlie's first performance was at five, when he pitched in for his mother as her voice went hoarse on stage while singing. This singing episode was a grand success. He was so entertaining that the crowd threw coins onto the stage. The audience gave him his first taste of applause and laughter when the young Charlie stopped singing midway to retrieve the coins ! Charlie also performed noticeably for "Eight Lancashire Lads".[br /]
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Despite Charlie's early success, his mother was forced to move her family into the Lambeth Borough Workhouse in London. In Charlie's words, it was the "booby hatch", slang for the poorhouse. Charlie and his half-brother Sydney were very close and really cared for each other.[br /]
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Sydney helped him to get a gig at the London Hippodrome when he was only ten years old. The workhouse forced the family to separate. His mother remained at Lambeth and Charlie with his brother Sydney, was sent to the `Hanwell School for Orphans and Destitute Children'. Due to mental breakdown his mother was admitted to an asylum for a couple of months.[br /]
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In the end of December 1900, Charlie performed a controversially comic but amusing role as a Cat in "Cinderella" at the London Hippodrome.[br /]
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His father had begun living with his mistress by then. Charlie had little contact with his father who became alcoholic. Alcoholism was a common habit amongst most of the music hall stars of that period, and due to this addiction, Charlie's father died at a young age of 38 years. At Hanwell School where he was studying, Charlie came to know that his mother was mentally ill and had been admitted in a Mental Asylum. It was during such tough times that Charlie and Sydney lived for a short while with their father. Charlie had to miss school for at least 2 years in order to supplement the family income.[br /]
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He had to perform odd jobs and run the household. All these events had molded his attitude about life and its values. The fear of poverty, striking him always remained at the back of his mind. Later on, he reflected these fears through his different characters and screenplays of his movies, and also displayed the ways to overcome them.[br /]
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Putting behind all his hardships, entertainment concept was always blossoming in him and after reuniting with his mother; his acting career became steady. He starred in a variety show Casey's "Court Circus" and performed in "Karno Pantomime Troupe" with his brother Sydney. From young age, Charlie was told that he had talent and soon he began to believe it with a passion.[br /]
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In 1903, for the first time he performed as a newspaper boy "Billy" in "Sherlock Holmes", and after that he played various roles continuously for 3 years.[br /]
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In early mid 1900's he set afoot on his career putting up small acting jobs. But he found that with the trials of oncoming adolescence, he could not remain as a "child" actor in the theatre.[br /]
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For both boys, `Karno' was almost a college of comedy. There Charlie realized that he had a natural gift in him, that is `Pantomime'. He honed this craft and became quite popular for his comic routines.[br /]
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Charlie, then 19 years of age, met Hetty Kelly for the first time and their affair continued for some time. Thereafter he left with Karno Pantomime Troupe for a tour of the United States and Canada, where he opened "The Wow Wow's" at the Colonial Theatre in New York and in the spring of 1912, returned to England.[br /]
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He accepted an offer from the New York office of 'Kessel and Bauman' the parent organization for Marc Sennetts 'Keystone Comedy Company.'[br /]
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In California, he dabbled in `Keystone Studio' productions. In 1914 he made his first feature film 'Making a Living', directed by Henry Lehrman. His second film 'Kid's Auto Race' had a remarkable first time semblance of 'The Tramp' character, on the screen. He starred in many of his Keystone movies along with Mabel Normand. He made a total of 35 movies with Keystone.[br /]
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Charlie's stint with Keystone didn't last long, and his success was such that he was able to move from one company to another, each time on a better deal. In less than a year, he finally succeeded in signing contract with Essanay Film's at $ 1,250 per week to make 14 films in 1915. At Essanay Films, 'The Tramp' was produced. [br /]
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It had a short, nervous looking male character with a thick black moustache, an ill-fitting baggy suit and a penguin like walk. 'The Tramp' was the first Charlie film with 'real sadness'. Just then after he contracted with Mutual Films Corporation's for two years and made 12 of his most celebrated films.[br /]
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His film `Easy Street' was considered as the best Mutual Film. It was followed by contract with the ` First National Exhibitor's Circuit' and produced eight films. Under the same banner. `A Dog's Life' and `Shoulder Arms' based on the First World War, were produced.[br /]
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Within two years of the first appearance of 'The Tramp' on film in 1924, he became one of the most popular film characters ever known at that time. About the birth of 'The Tramp', Charlie wrote, "I had no idea about the makeup. I did not like the getup of a Press Reporter. [br /]
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While opening the wardrobe, suddenly a thought struck to my mind to prepare myself in an awkward fitting baggy suit and shoes, thin stick and a derby hat. I wanted controversy : baggy trouser, tight coat, small hat and broad shoes ! I could not decide, whether I looked young or old, but remembering the suggestion given to me, I stuck a little moustache on my face that would not hide my expressions of face, and helped look like a mature man.[br /]
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I had no idea about my character. As I got ready, my makeup and wardrobe made me feel the character I was to play." Charlie said about his art of comedy : "I became familiar to 'him' and when I put my first step on stage, 'He' was born. I started to decorate the character that had many extensions stamped on : a joker, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, loner, wishing excitement and adventure.
My producer and director told me, 'All right, go on set.' I went on the set and stepped on an actress's leg. To apologize, I turned up my hat and banged with someone else. Again, I apologized in the same manner. The people who stood behind the camera, laughed. Generally, the scenes were not longer than 10 feet, but my scene was more than 75 feet, and it remained uncensored.[br /]
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At that time, I decided that I would accept and maintain the same getup forever at any cost.[br /]
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He married Mildred Harris on October 23rd, 1918. He founded a film company named United Artist's with his brother Sydney, D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. In June of the year 1919, 'Sunnyside' was released followed by 'A Days Pleasure' in December. And in the end of 1920 he divorced Mildred Harris.[br /]
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His second marriage to Lita Grey in 1924, shortly ended in 1927. 'The Circus', despite its greatness invited criticism. His mother Hannah died in the end of August 1928.
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Charlie, the most superb comic and amusing artist with profound versatility and genius in writing, originality in acting, and dynamic directing and producing skill, was awarded the first Academy Award, a special Oscar on May 16, 1929 for 'The Circus.' Winston Churchill visited Charlie's Studio in the same year.[br /]
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Charlie's immense popularity is evident from the incident of 1931, when Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein drove down through a street together. Pedestrians waved and cheered. Charlie explained: "The people are applauding you because none of them understands you and applauding me because everybody understands me."[br /]
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Charlie Chaplin was lucky to meet during banquets, great personalities of twentieth century - Gandhi, Nehru, Churchill, Hitler, Einstein and George Bernard Shaw. The little man's popularity and creative 'Tramp' image was etched forever on the minds of masses. He was a unique comedian of the twentieth century whose contribution was considered seriously by one and all.[br /]
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On his meeting Gandhi in 1931, he stated, "I have always honored him for his political transparency and iron confidence. But his London tour was a mistake. His mythological importance was lost in London. In the wet atmosphere there, the man with 'Dhoti' became a joke. When I was asked whether would you meet him or not, 'yes of course I will' - was my reply." [br /]
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"I asked him where India stood ? He answered, wherever it was, it will be certainly for the welfare of its people." Charlie left with the impression of a realistic virile-minded visionary with a will of iron.

"During the car ride Nehru was busy explaining about Indian politics, but I could not follow a single word. Luckily, the car stopped at the crossroads where his daughter, Indira, was going to get off.[br /]
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At that time, Nehru became an affectionate father, saying `take care of yourself' - the words which were expected from a `father'." [br /]
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In the same year Charlie again tried to return to England, which eventually took him around the world. In June 1932, he returned to the United States.
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In the year 1935 he married Paulette Goddard secretly which was his third marriage; with whom in the March - April of 1936, he visited the Far East.[br /]
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It was in this year that he was awarded `The Outstanding Acting Performance' by the `The Screen Writers and Actors Guild' of the United States of America.[br /]
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'The Great Dictator', a parody of Hitler, was released on October 15, 1940. In the end of that year The New York Film Critics voted him for 'The Best Actor Yearly Award', which he declined.[br /]
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In May 1942 as a last-minute substitute to the American Ambassador to Soviet Union, Joseph Davies, Charlie gave a second front speech at an American Committee for Russian War Relief rally, in San Francisco.[br /]
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He married Oona O'neill on June 16, 1943, who was his fourth and last wife. In the year 1950 his critics were surprised by the successful revival of the film 'City Lights' which was applauded as the best film of the year by the Life Magazine. In 1952 he left New York with his family for Europe by ship. While at sea, his reentry permit to U.S. was cancelled. His last well-known film 'Lime Light' was released on October 23, 1952.[br /]
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Despite speculative criticism by conservative groups, it was included in `Top Ten' list of the `New York Times'.[br /]
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In the year 1953, he purchased an estate the Manoir de Ban in the village of Corsair in Switzerland and in the subsequent year, he was honored with 'World Peace Council Prize'. He did his last starring role in 'A King in New York' on September 12, 1957.[br /]
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It was in 1962, that Oxford and Durham Universities awarded Charlie honorary doctorate degrees. His autobiography was published under the title `My Autobiography', in September 1964.[br /]
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The last film under Charlie's production, `A Countess from Hong Kong' was released in November 1966. On April 10, 1972 he was given a special Honorary Oscar `For the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures, the Art Form of this century.'[br /]
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In the year 1974 his final book 'My Life In Pictures' was published. On March 4, 1975, Elizabeth II, Queen of Britain knighted him.[br /]
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On the Christmas day of the year 1977 the Charming Charlie, 88 years old, slept forever in heavenly peace at his estate the Manior de Ban in Switzerland.
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[b]The Original Silent Star [/b] [br /]
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Charlie Chaplin was the first and foremost comedy artist of the silent era. He meant many things to many people. His working methods were a mystery until they rediscovered a cache of films he had stored away, which was brought to light after his death. His fourth wife, Lady Oona Chaplin generously consented to provide his film legacy.[br /]
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One of his professional secrets was that he first rehearsed on a film and then only went ahead. [br /]
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Some of his artistic beliefs were highly criticized. He took great amount of time to create his feature films.[br /]
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He preserved every possible scrap of film, which seemed wasteful and expensive. He had an incredible business mind. He carefully saved and preserved his own pictures. He had foresight or just plain common sense. He loved exposure and quite early in the game re-released many of his own films to generations that followed. He never had a period of non-exposure, which was not the case for other giants of silent era.[br /]
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His silent films often carried social message in hindsight, more than audience at the time could appreciate or understand. He had to face great criticism for his films 'The Great Dictator' and 'Monsieur Verdoux'. He was a slick businessman and artist with insight maintaining careful control over his films, not only as a performer, but also as producer, director, writer, editor and composer.[br /]
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He believed that the film that ends up on the cutting-room floor tells more about the creative process than the final cut. His love for the art of silent filmmaking is revealed in his own words : "Talkies are spoiling the oldest art in the world - the art of pantomime. They are ruining the great beauty of silence. They are defeating the meaning of the screen."[br /]
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• APRIL 16, 1889 Birth of Charles Spencer Chaplin.[br /]
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• JAN. 1894 His first music hall performance.[br /]
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• YEAR 1895 Charlie enrolled at Addington Street school, Lambeth.[br /]
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• DEC. 26, 1898 Charlie performs in "Eight Lancashire Lads", at Theatre Royal, Manchester.[br /]
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• JULY 27, 1903 He performs noticeably for the first time on stage as a newspaper boy 'Billy' in 'Sherlock Holmes'.[br /]
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• DEC. 16, 1913 He signs contract with Kessel and Bauman to join Keystone Film Company.
FEB. 2, 1914 His first film 'Making a Living' released. [br /]
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• APRIL 11, 1915 The FIRST Charlie film with real sadness 'The Tramp' was released.[br /]
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• JUNE 17, 1917 Signs 'million-dollar contract' with 'The First National Exhibition's Circuit' (Salary: $ 1,075,000 per year). Married Mildred Harris.[br /]
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• FEB. 6, 1921 The first feature film under his direction, 'The Kid', released.
YEAR 1928 Honored with a special 'Oscar Award'.[br /]
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• SEPT. 24, 1929 The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill visits Charlie's studio.
JAN. 31, 1931 Leaves Los Angeles for a world trip.[br /]
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• OCT. 15, 1946 World premiere of 'The Great Dictator', at Capital and Astor theaters, New York, Charlie remained present on the occasion.[br /]
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• APRIL 11, 1947 World premiere of the controversial movie 'Monsieur Verdoux' at Broadway Theatre, New York. [br /]
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• YEAR 1952 Left New York for Europe.
MAY 27, 1954 Awarded 'World Peace Council Prize'.[br /]
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• SEPT. 12, 1957 Performs his last role in 'A King in New York.' [br /]
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• JAN. 2, 1967 The last film produced and directed by Charlie, 'A Countess from Hong Kong' exhibited.[br /]
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• YEAR 1972 Awarded special Academy Award, in Hollywood, on 16th April. On 3rd September, awarded Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival.[br /]
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• MARCH 4, 1975 Elizabeth II, the Queen of Britain knighted him.[br /]
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DEC. 25, 1977 Charlie breathed his last, at his estate, the Manoir de Ban, Corsier sur Vevey, Switzerland.[br /]
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[b]His Leading Films [/b] [br /]
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One of the world’s greatest contributors to the motion picture industry, Charlie Chaplin, made around 78 movies during his career. His silent techniques crossed language boundaries, thereby making him a universal figure. This universality enabled him to touch all social classes and the culture, making his films all the more intriguing and powerful. From his childhood memories of London streets and stages of its music halls, Charlie had a moment of inspiration. He was instinctively aware, as indeed were many of the creative men and women in the world of film, of this sophistication of the audience, and so his films steadily became more complex, more subtle, more penetrating in his social criticism. [br /]
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His leading memorable movies include : [/b] [br /]
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[b]A Woman[/b] July 12th, 1915
[b]A Dog’s Life[/b] April 14th, 1918
[b]Sunnyside [/b] June 15th, 1919
[b]The Kid [/b] February 6th, 1921
[b]The Idle Class [/b] September 25th, 1921
[b]A Woman of Paris[/b] October 1st, 1923
[b]The Gold Rush[/b] June 26th, 1925
[b]The Circus[/b] June 26th, 1925
[b]City Lights[/b] January 30th, 1931
[b]Modern Times[/b] February 5th, 1936
[b]The Great Dictator[/b] October 15th, 1940
[b]Monsieur Verdoux [/b] April 11th, 1947
[b]Limelight October[/b] 23rd, 1952 and
[b]A King in New York[/b] September 12th, 1957 [br /]
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[b]The Great Dictator[/b][br /]
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Charlie Chaplin's first talkie, 'The Great Dictator', (1940), was one of his most memorable works. Based on the German dictator Adolf Hitler, it was a political satire with comedy exposing the reality in an un-really real wicked world, which speaks in depth about humanity, so called goodness vis-…-vis misery and hatred borne during the period of Dictatorship. [br /]
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Life and its mysteries have been depicted in this movie. In his famous speech at the end of the movie, he espouses the theory of Universal Brotherhood, end of despair and promise for a great way to Human Progress. The evil bonds of Dictatorship lie exposed in the speech and promotion and propagation of Democracy being the best form of governance ushering progress through reason and science. This according to him would lead to overall happiness for Humankind, is the essence of the movie.[br /]
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His movie the 'Modern Times' (1936), is an emotional response, based as usual on comedy, to the circumstances of the times. In the Keystone and Essanay Films, the 'Tramp' was knocked around in a prewar society of underprivileged among the other immigrants, vagrants and petty miscreants. In 'Modern Times', he is one of the millions coping with poverty, unemployment, strikes and strikebreakers, and the tyranny of the machine.[br /]
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The film opens with symbolic juxtaposition of sheep being herded and workers streaming out of a factory. Charlie is a worker on the Conveyer Belt of the factory. Falling into the automatic feeder off the Conveyor Belt, he runs amok as a guinea pig. Later, he lends in jail where he prevents a jail brake due to which he is granted pardon. After series of escapades, an interlude with his love Gamin happens at a Cabaret.[br /]
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The climatic end where Gamin ends up as a nun and Charlie visiting her brings out emotions that expressly show hidden love for him but now lying extinct in her. She has entered another world and the final 'Good-bye' and departing at the entrance of the hospital, is the most poignant scene of all in the movie.[br /]
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'The Gold Rush' (1923), was based on the 1898 Klondike gold rush where an endless line of prospectors toiled undergoing tremendous hardship and suffering in their search for gold. The real life event had survivors living and eating corpses of their own team members.[br /]
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Chaplin wrote, "That tragedy stimulates the spirit of ridicule. ridicule, I suppose, is an attitude of defiance, we must laugh in face of helplessness against forces of nature or go insane." The film was marked with hitherto unknown techniques of film making, especially the camera work, where Charlie would become a chicken and then when needed, would turn back into himself as the script needed.[br /]
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Effects like fades, dissolve and irises were not yet available, but were some years later as technical refinements became possible.[br /]
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• If you step off the curb with your left foot, they accuse you of being a communist.[br /]
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• All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.[br /]
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• Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.[br /]
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• Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain. [br /]
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• I do not have much patience with a thing of beauty that must be explained to be understood. If it does need additional interpretation by someone other than the creator, then I question whether it has fulfilled its purpose.[br /]
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• In the end, everything is a gag.[br /]
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• The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting.[br /]
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• In real life great emotions are repressed. There are no such great emotional splurges as we often see on the stage and on the screen… It is this realism that is worthwhile striving for-a realism that will portray emotions intelligently and at the same time keep the audience interested in the story.[br /]
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• I am not a communist. I am a peace monger.[br /]
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• I neither believe nor disbelieve in anything. [br /]
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• Wars, conflict, its all business. One murder makes a villain. Millions a hero. Numbers sanctify.[br /]
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• Action is more generally understood than words [br /]
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• I have studied human nature, because without a knowledge of it I could not do work.[br /]
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• My technique is the outcome of thinking for myself, of my own logic and approach it is not borrowed from what others are doing."[br /]
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• Timing ! My mother gave me that. I was born with it. I don’t think you can teach a person to act [br /]
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• I don’t mind coincidence – life is coincidence – but I have convenience [br /]
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• Sometimes when I see my old films, I think ‘My God ! I didn’t do that, did I ?"[br /]
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• I hate the theatre, I also hate the sight of blood, but it’s in my veins." [br /]
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• As for politics, I’m an anarchist. I hate governments and rules and fetters…Can’t stand caged animals…People must be free."[br /]
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• Life can be wonderful if you're not afraid of it. All it needs is courage, imagination. and a little dough.[br /]
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• I am for people. I can't help it.[br /]
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• Meeting people formally is like viewing a house without going inside.[br /]
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• Life is laughter when seen in a long shot, but it is a tragedy when seen in a close-up.[br /]
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• I remain just one thing, and one thing only - and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.[br /]
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• My clowning’s realistic, that’s why it never goes out of date[br /]
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• `Talkies are spoiling the oldest art in the world - the art of pantomime. They are ruining the great beauty of silence. They are defeating the meaning of the screen.[br /]
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In 1914, his first year as a filmmaker, Charlie achieved an amazing goal of making 35 films.[br /]
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On November 14, 1914, he starred in ‘Tillie’s punctured Romance’, which is considered to be the first feature-length comedy.[br /]
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Charlie Chaplin was honored with a special Oscar "for versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing and producing ‘The Circus’, at the first Academy Award ceremony".[br /]
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‘The Screenwriters and Actors Guild’ awarded him with outstanding actor honors, on March 16, 1936.[br /]
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Charlie was voted for the ‘Best Actor of the Year Award’ by ‘The New York Film Critics’, on December 30, 1940.[br /]
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His 1931 production ‘City Lights’ was declared as the ‘Best picture of 1950’ by the ‘Life’ magazine.[br /]
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Charlie’s last great film ‘Limelight’ was included in the New York Times annual "Ten Best" list, in 1952.[br /]
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"The Foreign Language Press Film Critics" selected Charlie’s ‘Limelight’ as its best film in March 1953.[br /]
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He received honorary doctorate degrees from Oxford and Durham Universities in 1962.[br /]
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Charlie Chaplin was awarded by a special honorary Oscar "for the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century", on April 10, 1972. [br /]
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‘The Venice Film Festival’ awarded him by giving its ‘Golden Lion’ Statuette, on September 3, 1972.[br /]
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Charlie won an Oscar, with Raymond Rasch and Larry Russell, for Best Original Dramatic Score for 1972, from ‘Limelight.[br /]
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He achieved the greatest honor of his life on 4th March, 1975 when he was knighted by Elizabeth XI, the Queen of England.[br /]
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After Charlie’s death, his larger than life statue was unveiled in London’s Leicester Square, the heartland of the capital’s cinemas, on 16th April, 1981. It stands just a few yards from that of William Shakespeare’s.[br /]
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