Chaplin: The Tramp’s Odyssey by Simon Louvish - review by Patrick O’Connor

Patrick O’Connor

Seriously Funny

Chaplin: The Tramp’s Odyssey

By

Faber & Faber 412pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

In 1958 the Public Library in Hicksville, Long Island planned a retrospective of four early Charlie Chaplin short silent films (The Cure, The Fireman, The Pawnshop and The Floorwalker). A pressure group campaigned successfully to have the films banned from being shown, stating that Chaplin 'was not worthy of being honored'. This occurred some five and a half years after the then US Attorney-General, James P McGranery, had opposed Chaplin's re-entry into the United States, thereby effectively banishing him from the country in which he had lived and worked since 1910, and where he had created the most famous moving-picture personality of all time. 

In 1972 America was ready to forget, and Chaplin returned to New York and Hollywood, to receive a special Academy Award. By then, as Simon Louvish writes, many 'knew him only as a symbol, not a man'. This is the theme of his book, not exactly a biography,

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