Magazine article New Internationalist

Charlie Chaplin

Magazine article New Internationalist

Charlie Chaplin

Article excerpt

Charlie Chaplin by Peter Ackroyd (Chatto & Windus, ISBN 9780701169947)

The prospect of this book is an enticing one; a monograph on the greatest comic genius of our age by one of our foremost biographers. The outline of Chaplin's life and career - if not many of the fine details - are well known. From a boyhood in the East End of London, blighted by poverty and ill-health, via a Music Hall apprentice- ship, to a glamorous and lucrative career as one of the most fêted of Hollywood actors and directors.

Peter Ackroyd provides a chronology of Chaplin's development, from his early acting days in Fred Karno's troupe and the Keystone Kops, through to the films that cemented his reputation: The Gold Rush, Modern Times and The Great Dictator. As to the life, Ackroyd gives us chapter and verse on Chaplin's chronic insecurity, his dictatorial manner and cold cruelty towards his family. …

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