Photo Essays
1. Exile’s Return
2. Chaplin’s Parents
3. Hannah Chaplin’s Femmes Fatales
4. Playing Dress-Up  In The Land of Make Believe
5. Teenage Girls and Fear of Aging
6. Chaplin’s Three Teenage Wives
7. Mildred Harris
8. Lita Grey
9. Oona O’Neill
10. Chaplin’s Father
11. A Royal Lion
12. Vesta Tilley as Bertie
13. Ella Shields as Bertie
14. Making A Living
15. The Lion Comique’s Son: Dressed Like A Bum
16. Monsieur Verdoux as a Lion Comique
17. Calvero as a Lion Comique
18. The Lion Comique’s Son in the Limelight
19. Charlie as a Child
20. The Kid’s Lucky Break
21. Syd Chaplin
22. A Family Album of Theatrical Drunks
23. Chaplin’s Family Romance
24. Edna Purviance
25. Purviance’s Influence on Chaplin’s Character
26. Essanay
27. Chaplinitis
28. Chaplin’s Predecessors
29. Eye Contact: Audience-Performer Intimacy
30. Chaplin the Auteur
31. Chaplin’s Two Autobiographies
32. Going It Alone
33. The Circus
34. Autobiographical Starvation Scenes From The Gold Rush
35. Autobiographical Madness Scenes in Modern Times
36. Two British Music Hall Traditions and Topical Comedy
37. The Great Dictator
38. Fatal Attraction: Joan Barry
39. Monsieur Verdoux: Guillotine or Hatchet Job?
40. Limelight
Chaplin: A Life In Film
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 The Circus

©Roy Export

Chaplin as the aging ex-music hall star Calvero, dressed   in an elegant man-about-town outfit in his film Limelight (1952), his most explicitly autobiographical work. Like Charlie Chaplin Sr., Calvero is a once-famous alcoholic actor  who has lost touch with his audience and fallen on hard times. Limelight contains Chaplin’s most explicit acknowledgement of his lifelong  but previously unconscious psychological identification  with his lion comique father.  This  film came at a point in Chaplin’s own life (age 63) when he was finally coming to terms with his previously unresolved conflicts about fatherhood and felt a strong  need to make peace with his painful childhood memories of his own father. In an unpublished autobiographical novel he wrote at this time (Footlights),  he  revisited and re-examined  his parents’ failed marriage. In doing so, he came  to terms with the role his mother’s “tragic promiscuity” had originally played in driving his father away and destroying  their family.

As a boy, he  had always sided with Lillie  and blamed Charlie Sr. for abandoning them. From this point on in Chaplin’s private  life,  he   became  a loving and devoted, thoroughly respectable  family man—a Victorian paterfamilias. Charlie’s youthful womanizing days were a thing of the past which he unapologetically  remembered  without regret. Chaplin was however quite bitter about the well-organized smear-campaign  his political  enemies employed to demonize him  by painting an ugly portrait   of  him  as a morally  degenerate lecher and  dredging up ancient  sexual scandals as a means of  justifying the current  revocation of his US re-entry permit—thereby  driving  him into exile.
© 2008 All Essay Rights Reserved.

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