The Real Charlie Chaplin (12)
The Real Charlie Chaplin (12)
Directors: Peter Middleton, James Spinney
Runtime: 1h 54m
Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Carter, Sarah Lawn, Jo Price, Matthew Wolf, Pearl Mackie, Jeff Rawle, Paul Ryan, Anne Rosenfeld.
Synopsis: From the award-winning creative team behind ‘Notes on Blindness’ comes a contemporary take on cinema’s most iconic figure. In an innovative blend of newly unearthed audio recordings, dramatic reconstructions and personal archive, the film traces Charlie Chaplin’s meteoric rise from the slums of Victorian London to the heights of Hollywood superstardom, before his scandalous fall from grace.
Refracting his life through a kaleidoscope of previously unheard voices and perspectives, the film sheds new light on the many sides of a ground-breaking, controversial and visionary artist. For decades he was the most famous man in the world but who was The Real Charlie Chaplin?
Hollywood icon Charlie Chaplin rocketed to fame from the slums of Victorian London and spent decades as one of Hollywood’s most famous and beloved stars, until his scandalous fall from grace. His stage persona and incendiary media portrayal defined how he was perceived, but his private life has always been shrouded in mystery – until now. Never-before-heard recordings, intimate home movies and newly restored classic films reveal a side to Chaplin that the world never got to see.
From Peter Middleton and James Spinney, the award-winning creative team behind Notes on Blindness (2016) comes a contemporary take on cinema’s most iconic figure. In an innovative blend of newly unearthed audio recordings, dramatic reconstructions and personal archive, the film traces Charlie Chaplin’s meteoric rise from the slums of Victorian London to the heights of Hollywood superstardom, before his scandalous fall from grace.
Refracting his life through a kaleidoscope of previously unheard voices and perspectives, the film sheds new light on the many sides of a ground-breaking, controversial and visionary artist.
Miraculously restored archival materials lend The Real Charlie Chaplin credibility and unique insight, casting a fair look at the entertainer that celebrates his genius while scrutinizing his foibles.
Included is an interview Chaplin gave to Life magazine in 1966 and some never-seen-before home footage, particularly covering his later years in Switzerland with some interviews that have been re-enacted with the original audio dubbed over.
Chaplin’s impressive rags-to-riches story is totally fascinating. Despite being born into dire poverty he was to become ‘the highest-paid actor in the world’.
His story starts in a Victorian London slum where he lived with his mother, Hannah, a music-hall performer. His father had abandoned them, Hannah was in and out of mental asylums and Charlie was in and out the workhouse from when he was four years old. But with the stage in his blood, he started with a music-hall act, then joined Fred Karno’s comedy company, where he was spotted by Keystone Films while on a tour of America. By 26, Charlie was “more famous than any king, queen, emperor, philosopher, artist or religious figure,” Pearl Mackie’s narration states.
How he discovered his ‘little tramp’ character, his eventual exile from America and his incredible work ethic are covered. He wrote, directed, produced, starred in and scored his films. Footage of Chaplin returning to London in 1921 show his massive popularity.
The section on his private life is dark and unsavoury, with particularly troubling revelations about his treatment of his teenage second wife, Lita Grey, whom he had known since she was age twelve.
A well told story about a contradictory character and difficult subject, The Real Charlie Chaplin highlights the light and the dark of a difficult character who represents a milestone in history, through a detailed probing of his enigmatic, elusive personality.
Images courtesy of: Altitude Films