Take a new look at Charlie Chaplin--through the music he composed for his films. Take a new look at Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) through the music he composed for his films. Chaplin began his silent-film career in 1914, and with the invention of his character the Little Tramp, he became a screen icon. When sound was introduced in 1927, Chaplin--a self-taught musician--not only wrote scores for his new films, but also composed soundtracks for earlier works, and deftly created comic sound by interweaving sound effects and music.Though he worked with what he termed "musical associates" who helped with notation and orchestration, all his scores sound recognizably "Chaplinesque" and some of his tunes are classics: "Smile" and "Eternally" have been covered by musicians worldwide. Published to accompany an exhibition at the Paris Philharmonic, this new book is fully illustrated with photographs, documents, and ephemera from the Chaplin archives.
Charles Chaplin’s sound films have often been overlooked by historians, despite the fact that in these films the essential character of Chaplin more overtly asserted itself in his screen images than in his earlier silent work. Each of Chaplin’s seven sound films—City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), A King in New York (1957), and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)—is covered in a chapter-length essay here. The comedian’s inspiration for the film is given, along with a narrative that describes the film and offers details on behind-the-scenes activities. There is also a full discussion of the movie’s themes and contemporary critical reaction to it.
Charlie Chaplin the actor is universally synonymous with his beloved Tramp character. Chaplin the director is considered one of the great auteurs and innovators of cinema history. Less well known is Chaplin the composer, whose instrumental theme for Modern Times (1936) later became the popular standard “Smile,” a Billboard hit for Nat “King” Cole in 1954. Chaplin was prolific yet could not read or write music. It took a rotating cast of talented musicians to translate his unorthodox humming, off-key singing, and amateur piano and violin playing into the singular orchestral vision he heard in his head. Drawing on numerous transcriptions from 60 years of original scores, this comprehensive study reveals the untold story of Chaplin the composer and the string of famous (and not-so-famous) musicians he employed, giving fresh insight into his films and shedding new light on the man behind the icon.
"The biography is as good an introduction to Chaplin's life and films as has been published. The bibliographical essay . . . offers clear and reliable evaluations of the works considered. The filmography carefully lists everyone involved in each Chaplin film." Choice
This excursion into the enchanted comic world of Charlie Chaplin will appeal not just to Chaplin fans but to anyone who loves comedy. Dan Kamin brings a unique insider’s perspective to the subject. An internationally acclaimed comic performing artist himself, he trained Robert Downey, Jr. for his Oscar-nominated portrayal in Chaplin, and created Johnny Depp’s physical comedy scenes in Benny and Joon. The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin: Artistry in Motion reveals the inner workings of Chaplin’s mesmerizing art as never before. Kamin illuminates the comedian's incredibly sophisticated visual comedy in disarmingly direct prose, providing new insights into how Chaplin achieved his legendary rapport with audiences and demonstrating why comedy created nearly a century ago remains fresh today. He then presents provocative new interpretations of each of the comedian’s sound films, showing how Chaplin remained true to his silent comedy roots even as he kept reinventing his art for changing times. The book is lavishly illustrated with many never-before-published images of the comedian.