Tag Archives: Charlie Chaplin

The Set of 400: #136 – My Favorite Coin Pudding

Today! Because the misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress –

The Great Dictator (1940)

Directed by Charlie Chaplin (x2)

Starring Charlie Chaplin (x2), Paulette Goddard (x2), Jack Oakie, Henry Daniell (x3), Reginald Gardiner, Billy Gilbert, Grace Hayle, Maurice Moscovitch

The first Charlie Chaplin film I remember seeing, The Great Dictator was no easy sell – I mentioned this quickly in To Be or Not to Be, but Dictator had a variety of issues stateside and abroad when the movie was in production. First, they began shooting in 1937, years before Germany would invade France and kick off WWII, so many were still calling for appeasement at all costs and were anti-intervention. England announced they would ban The Great Dictator when they learned of its production, despite Chaplin’s continued huge star status and this notably being his first all-talking motion picture (Modern Times still had large silent sections in 1936). Many groups pressured Chaplin to abandon the film altogether, afraid it would further inflame Hitler and the Nazis. It was a weird, brief period in history, and thankfully production ran so long on this movie that by the time it came out, public opinion had swung, the war was underway, and The Great Dictator was largely embraced with the classic status it now enjoys. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #242 – My Favorite Music Hall Drunk

Today! Because the tramp can’t talk. The minute he talks, he’s dead –

Chaplin (1992)

Directed by Richard Attenborough

Starring Robert Downey Jr. (x6), Paul Rhys, Geraldine Chaplin, Anthony Hopkins (x4), Kevin Kline (x2), Moira Kelly (x2), Dan Aykroyd (x4), Marisa Tomei (x2), Penelope Ann Miller, John Thaw, Kevin Dunn (x2), Diane Lane, Milla Jovovich (x2), James Woods, Nancy Travis, Matthew Cottle, David Duchovny, John Standing (x3), Maria Pitillo, Deborah Moore

Ah, 1992! Apparently the heyday of my movie watching! The eighth entry from the year of Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, Chaplin had a good hand in stretching my film interests back into the silent era. Now, as we’ve gone over in this space recently, it’s not like this list is teeming with dialogue-free cinema, however, without Chaplin there’s a good chance that none whatsoever would appear. Charlie Chaplin is a gateway into the entire era for most casual film goers, right? Silent comedy, by and large, looks ridiculous now, but at least it’s accessible. People like broad, physical comedy up to the present day, so silents can still be enjoyable, so long as you put aside your prejudice against this form of moviemaking. Don’t lie! Silents are hard, sometimes! One of the only instances where I fell asleep in a movie theater was catching the 1916 Sherlock Holmes starring William Gillette at the Chicago Film Festival a few years back. I was too tired going in! Plus, while there may have been no spoken words, the theater was still plenty loud from the reverberating snores! Everyone I went with fell asleep too! 100% true story. Sorry, Mr. Gillette!

This dude discovering a gun in his hand could only sustain us for so long!

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The Set of 400: #271 – My Favorite Department Store Roller Skating

Today! Because we ain’t burglars, we’re hungry –

Modern Times (1936)

Directed by Charlie Chaplin

Starring Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Tiny Sandford, Al Ernest Garcia, Sammy Stein, Chester Conklin

Not completely unlike my affinity for bad movies, low budget movies, homemade remakes of blockbusters, and 1930s boilerplate romances, I can always appreciate a silent movie, within reason. Silent dramas can be tough – the acting is so out of date, and the by-and-large cheap sets don’t exact hold the attention – but shorts, sci-fi, and feature comedies are totally in my wheelhouse. Yet, as much as I enjoy a Buster Keaton or a Harold Lloyd or a Fatty Arbuckle or a Mabel Normand, there are only two silents cracking my top 400, and only one made during the silent era. This is not that film.

Don’t sleep on the great comedic duo of Fatty & Mabel, though

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