Friday, November 16, 2007

Charlie Chaplin at the Castro

BAM/PFA is having a Charlie Chaplin retrospective in Berkeley and at the Castro in December. There are number of classic films that I want to see. Earlier, I listed City Lights on my film list. That film will be repeated in December. Not quite a silent film; it has a musical score and a muffled voice is heard a la Charlie Brown's teacher. Allegedly, it was Chaplin speaking through a kazoo.

Among the highlights I want to see are:

The Great Dictator (1940); Chaplin plays Adenoid Hynkel (and his Jewish barber) in this satirical criticism of Hitler and the Nazis. I've heard about this movie since I was a kid but have never seen it (not even on TV). The film co-stars Paulette Goddard (Mrs. Charlie Chaplin at the time of the film). Trivia - Paulette Goddard would divorce Chaplin and marry Burgess Meredith who is best known to audiences as Mickey from the Rocky movies or the Penguin from the 1960's Batman television series. Extra trivia - my favorite Burgess Meredith role is a supporting role he had in John Wayne's In Harm's Way. You may recall that WWII movie for Kirk Douglas' supporting role where he rapes a nurse and atones for it by flying a fighter plane into sure death.
The Great Dictator
Modern Times (1936); Chaplin's satirical criticism (he made a lot of
satirical criticisms) about the dehumanizing effects of industrialization. Slipping back into his familiar role as The Little Tramp, this film includes Chaplin's most famous visual gag when he gets pulled through some giant gears and cogs. Once again, this is a movie I've heard a lot about but have never seen. Co-stars Paulette Goddard. Similar to City Lights, this film contains limited dialogue but has a score and sound effects.
Modern Times
The Kid (1921); The Little Tramp teamed with the biggest child star of the time - a seven year old Jackie Coogan. I've never seen Jackie Coogan as a child in any films. Forty years after this film, Coogan would play Uncle Fester in the TV series "The Addams Family."

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