Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Think too much and Feel too Little

“We think too much and feel too little.  More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.  Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”

― Charles Chaplin


Chaplin was a visionary and from his work as a producer, director, editor, composer and actor of all his work, will remain timeless.  Chaplin's childhood was fraught with poverty and hardship, making his eventual trajectory "the most dramatic of all the rags to riches stories ever told" according to his authorized biographer David Robinson.  There is no official record of his birth, although Chaplin believed he was born at East Street Walworth, South London.

Many don't know the story of Charlie Chaplin and think he was just a guy doing slapstick comedy along with his iconic figure the Tramp which truly was his life as a boy.  One of his best films The Great Dictator and first with sound reviled Chaplin's boldness toward reviling his political views in his work.  Parallels between himself and Adolf Hitler had been widely noted, the pair were born four days apart both had risen from poverty to world prominence and the German dictator wore the same toothbrush mustache as the Tramp.  It was this physical resemblance that supplied the plot for Chaplin's next film The Great Dictator, which directly satirized Hitler and attacked fascism.

Chaplin again vocalized his political views in Monsieur Verdoux, criticizing capitalism and arguing that the world encourages mass killing through wars and weapons of mass destruction. (wow we heard that before) His political activity had heightened during World War II, when he campaigned for the opening of a Second Front to help the Soviet Union and supported various Soviet–American friendship groups.  In the political climate of 1940s America, such activities meant Chaplin was considered as Larcher writes, "dangerously progressive and amoral."  The FBI wanted him out of the country and early in 1947, they launched an official investigation.  Chaplin denied being a communist, instead, calling himself a "peace-monger" but felt the government's effort to suppress the ideology was an unacceptable infringement of civil liberties.  His activities were widely reported in the press, and Cold War fears grew, questions were raised over his failure to take American citizenship.

His next film Limelight he decided to hold the world premiere in London, since it was the setting of the film.  In New York, he boarded the RMS Queen Elizabeth with his family on September 18, 1952.  The next day attorney general James P. McGranery revoked Chaplin's re-entry permit and stated that he would have to submit to an interview concerning his political views and moral behavior in order to re-enter the US.  When Chaplin received the cablegram he quietly decided to cut ties with the U.S. as Chaplin explained,  "Whether I re-entered that unhappy country or not was of little consequence to me.  I would like to have told them that the sooner I was rid of that hate-beleaguered atmosphere the better, that I was fed up of America's insults and moral pomposity."

That was 1952, 63 years ago and the atmosphere here in the U.S. today is what?

The Great Dictator

Charlie Chaplin

No comments:

Post a Comment