The collaborative project aims to locate, identify, and describe all historical film prints of Charlie Chaplin’s wartime comedy SHOULDER ARMS (U.S. 1918) preserved in archives and collections worldwide. For further details, visit the Project MASh website.
Today marks the 132nd anniversary of Charles Spencer Chaplin’s birth. Happy birthday Charlie, and happy Charlie Chaplin Day to you (as declared by the mayor of Los Angeles in 1989). Read the Chaplin Office’s latest newsletter here.
THE CHAPLIN STUDIO TOUR
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2021, 12:00 noon PST
Between 1918 and 1952, Charlie Chaplin made films at his studio at Sunset Blvd. and La Brea in Hollywood. Masterpieces like The Kid, The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times—all made on this site! In 1952, on his way to the UK for the premiere of Limelight, Chaplin, a lifelong British subject, got word that his US re-entry permit had been rescinded. Chaplin became a victim of scurrilous Senator Joe McCarthy’s Red Scare—the FBI branding him as one of ‘Hollywood’s parlor Bolsheviks’—along with other great artists of the time. Chaplin settled in Switzerland where he lived until his death in 1977, returning to the US only once—in 1972 when he accepted an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
On Sunday, February 7, 2021—the 107th anniversary of the debut of Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp character—Kate Guyonvarch, managing director of the Chaplin Office in Paris, will narrate the Chaplin Studio Tour, footage of the abandoned studio shot circa 1953. Recently restored by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in collaboration with the Chaplin Office/Roy Export S.A.S. and Lobster Films, the film shows Chaplin’s cameraman Rollie Totheroh escorting Kathryn Reed (the future wife of Robert Altman) around the studio.
Register now for this FREE online event with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
On Thursday, February 4th, 6pm UK time, you can join Carol Homden, Group Chief Executive of the children’s charity Coram, Kate Guyonvarch of the Chaplin Office and British Film Institute expert Bryony Dixon for an online discussion on Chaplin and the history of care to support Coram. The event will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of THE KID, one of Chaplin’s most personal films, resonating his own childhood experiences.
THE KID had its world premiere one hundred years ago today, on January 21, 1921 at Carnegie Hall in New York City in a pre-public subscription showing as part of a benefit for the Children’s Fund of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. A milestone in his artistry, THE KID was Charles Chaplin’s first full-length film as a director and his most ambitious production to date.
Chaplin created something completely new with THE KID. Films were either dramas, or comedies – but here, as in life, the two were combined in the most natural seeming way. Chaplin wrote in his autobiography that “there had been satire, farce, realism, naturalism, melodrama and fantasy, but raw slapstick and sentiment, the premise of THE KID, was something of an innovation.” He recalled being told by an industry professional, “It won’t work. The form must be pure, either slapstick or drama; you cannot mix them, otherwise one element of your story will fail.” But Chaplin followed his intuition, the film was an instant success, and the cinema industry never looked back.
In February 1921, the Morning Telegraph noted that “THE KID will live when other pictures have died. Its pathos is universal in its appeal. Its humor is classic. Chaplin is a humanitarian. He understands the hearts of the irresponsible, the children and the willing failures of the world. The joys of THE KID cannot be catalogued, they must be seen.”
THE KID is still a hit with audiences 100 years on. It is no surprise that the honorary Academy Award presented to Chaplin in 1972 was for the incalculable effect he had had in making motion pictures the art form of the 20th century. In 2011, THE KID was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
We’ve just uploaded a new video to our Youtube channel: Japanese Chaplin specialist Ono Hiroyuki talks about KOMORI NO YASUSAN, a Kabuki version of Chaplin’s CITY LIGHTS that was originally performed in August 1931 at Tokyo’s Kabuki Theatre. In December 2019, the National Theatre of Japan revived the show. Mr. Hiroyuki supervised the script and the production.
Charlie Chaplin, The Genius of Liberty, the excellent new documentary by Yves Jeuland & François Aymé, which premiered at Cannes Classics 2020/Festival Lumière in Lyon, will be broadcast on Wednesday, January 6th at 9:05 pm on French television station France 3. The documentary will be followed by Modern Times at 11:30 pm.