Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on this day in 1889 and, since we’ve just celebrated the 100th anniversary of his beloved Little Tramp—see Brian Darr and Jonathan Marlow‘s pieces posted here Keyframe in January—I’ll keep the festivities here relatively modest. Primarily, I’d like to highlight Horatia Harrod‘s delightful report in the Telegraph on touring the Central London district of Kennington, “searching for traces of the area’s most famous son,” with Peter Ackroyd, who’s latest biography, Charlie Chaplin, is just out in the UK (it’s due in the States in October).
The tour, it turns out, is made quite lively by their Syrian taxi driver: “Paul is one of Chaplin’s greatest fans, having watched his films as a student in Aleppo. As we zoom along, it transpires that Paul has his own agenda: to drive us past all the places related to Chaplin without removing his foot from the accelerator, and to take over my job of interviewing Ackroyd.”
For more on Chaplin in the Telegraph, see Robin Ince and Dominic Cavendish. But to really dive in, see Alan Vanneman‘s pieces in Bright Lights on the Keystone and Essanay Days (more), the Mutuals, the First National period, some “minor” work in the 1920s, The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), A King in New York (1957) and a review of Simon Louvish’s 2009 book, Chaplin: The Tramp’s Odyssey.
“Among the many admirers of Chaplin, there’s a man called Ashok Aswani who lives in the Adipur district of Gujarat in India,” reports Krishna Makwana for India.com. Aswani founded the Charlie Circle Club forty years ago and every year on Chaplin’s birthday, the Club stages a parade. “It consists of men and women dressed like Chaplin’s most famous character. They walk their way through the streets of Adipur performing to Indian traditional songs and mimicking the actor-director’s skits.”
Starting tonight, several Chaplin films will be screened for free in Ho Chi Minh City, reports Tuoi Tre News. And tonight at the Alden Theater in McLean, Virginia, composer Ben Model and film historian and preservationist Bruce Lawton will present a selection of silents.
The Chicago Reader‘s J.R. Jones notes that The Kid (1921) will be screening on Friday at the Patio Theater, with a live performance of Chaplin’s 1971 score. “Despite all the sentiment, the movie is still a laugh getter. You couldn’t ask for a better image of low-rent sophistication than the cigarette case the Tramp pulls from his coat during his daily stroll: an empty lozenge tin filled with half-smoked butts.”
William Hartston collects a “top 10 facts about Charlie Chaplin” for the Daily Express. #1: “He was four days older than Adolf Hitler, whom he satirised so well in the 1940 film The Great Dictator.”