Fans of Chaplin
I heard a story this morning on NPR about an Indian doctor who prescribes Charlie Chaplin movies as a cure for depression, leads a Chaplin fan club, and dresses up as the Little Tramp for performances. I am not in his league, but I am a huge fan. One of my dogs is even named Charlie, since his walk is a four legged version of the Tramp's. For those of you who hesitate to watch a black and white movie, let alone a silent film, I challenge you to resist the magic of one of Chaplin's best films. His personal favorite was City Lights, a poignant story about the Tramp falling in love with a blind flower girl, that still managed to be very funny. My favorite is Modern Times, a story of the Tramp trying to make a living in modern industrial society.
If you get hooked on these movies, as the doctor and I did, you'll find a treasure trove of other books and movies to explore. Chaplin's autobiography, My Life, is entertaining, but sometimes fictional. David Robinson's biography, Chaplin: His Life and Art, tells the whole story of Chaplin's fascinating life, from his childhood performing in the music halls of London, through the beginnings of the motion picture industry, various scandals, to his exile in Switzerland. The movie biopic, Chaplin, is also worth watching for Robert Downey, Jr.'s performance.
The truly obsessed, ahem, can continue from here with Unknown Chaplin, the comedy two-reelers, and even fiction books like Sunnyside by Glen David Gold, with hundreds of Chaplins spotted in different places across the country. And then there's Buster Keaton. Did I mention I have another dog?