Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey

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Faber & Faber, 2009 - Comedians - 412 pages
An Everyman who expressed the defiant spirit of freedom, Charlie Chaplin was first lauded and later reviled in the America that made him Hollywood’s richest man. He was a figure of multiple paradoxes, and many studies have sought to unveil ‘the man behind the mask.’ But Simon Louvish’s new book – following on from his five major biographies of comedy’s classic stars, from W.C. Fields to Laurel & Hardy and Mae West – looks afresh at the ‘mask behind the man.’Louvish charts the tale of the Tramp himself through his films – from the early Mack Sennett shorts through the major features (The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator et al.) He weighs the relationship between the Tramp, his creator, and his world-wide fans, and in doing so retrieves Chaplin as the iconic London street-kid who carried the ‘surreal’ antics of early BritishMusic Hall triumphantly onto the Hollywood screen. Louvish also looks anew at Chaplin’s and the Tramp’s social and political ideas – the challenge to fascism, defiance of the McCarthyite witch-hunts, eventual ‘exile’, and last mature disguises as the serial-killer Monsieur Verdoux and the dying English clown Calvero in Limelight.This book is an epic journey, summing up the roots of Comedy and its appeal to audiences everywhere, who revelled in the clown’s raw energy, his ceaseless struggle against adversity, and his capacity to represent our own fears, foibles, dreams, inner demons and hopes.

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Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey

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More than three decades after Charles Chaplin's death and after hundreds of books about the film legend have been written, does the world need another book about Chaplin? Biographer Louvish (Mae West ... Read full review


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About the author (2009)

Simon Louvish is a biographer of comedians, and author of satirical and outrageous fiction, a part-time film teacher at the London Film School, and a film screenwriter. He is married and lives in Fulham, London.

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