"I’m not giving in an inch." Charlie Chaplin character study. Music by CSNY.
Original vid post, (including downloads) on dreamwidth.
Special thanks to renenet and hollywoodgrrl for betaing.
(See the end of the work for more notes.)
For those who haven’t seen the movie or don’t know much about Sir Charlie Chaplin’s life and career, the short and sweet of it is this: Chaplin had some strong political opinions that ended up biting him in the ass.
Prior to watching the film, I knew Chaplin to be a master of comedy, but I wasn’t entirely aware of his revolutionary (yes, revolutionary) impact on film and film-making. I also didn’t have a clue that he had, at times, strong social and political convictions that he felt compelled to voice through some of his films, most especially The Little Dictator. This film was pretty much a rabid attack on Nazism and Hitler especially, but many Americans at the time associated Chaplin’s ideas with Communism and Socialism and the film was ill received for many years.
Part of Chaplin’s problem could be pinned on one J Edgar Hoover, the first director of the then fledging FBI. In the film, Hoover is portrayed voicing anti-immigrant opinions which offend Chaplin (and, indeed, the spirit of Americanism, being that the US is a nation of immigrants). Chaplin responds by doing his classic “dinner roll” routine and getting a rise out of other people around them. This effectively humiliates Hoover, but also earns Chaplin an enemy.
The other half of the equation is Charlie’s own sometimes tawdry personal life. Chaplin had an affair with Joan Barry (aka "the flu" in the vid), a woman who was probably severely mentally ill. The affair ended and Joan became pregnant. She filed a paternity suit against Chaplin in 1943. A paternity test proved he was not the father, but it was decided the test was inadmissible and that Chaplin should pay child support for Joan’s daughter. The charges brought against Chaplin, the trials, and the subsequent court rulings did a great deal of damage to Chaplin’s reputation at the time.
In 1952, Chaplin took brief trip to England for the London premiere of his film Limelight. It was an opportunity Hoover had long awaited – because it gave him the chance to find a way to deny Chaplin a re-entry permit - effectively exiling him from the United States. He lived the rest of his life in Switzerland.
More information can be gleaned from the wiki entry on Chaplin here.
As for myself and my personal opinions on the matter – I think they are clear enough in the vid itself. Though, it will be noted that I have an affinity for black irony which I need to learn to make more obvious as a vidder.