The Charlie Chaplin Plan



Why Chaplin?

When I heard that he got a 12-minute standing ovation at the 1972 Academy Awards, I had to find out why. He was awarded an Honorary Oscar "for the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century." 

With this video, I was sold. I had to learn about this person, and why he is so important to so many people, myself included.

Where to begin! 
I asked Reddit's community of 5000 film geeks that question, and they gave me plenty of suggestions and pointed me toward a website perfectly suited for the task.  So I arrived at this list of movies:  

Easy Street - '17
The Immigrant - '17
Shoulder Arms - '18
The Kid - '21
The Gold Rush - '25
The Circus - '28
City Lights - '31
Modern Times - '36
Great Dictator - '40
Monsieur Verdoux - '47

The ones in bold are on IMDB's Top 250. 



My plan is to pick one of his well-known middle works to get a first impression of standard, good Chaplin. Then, if I like it, I'll go through this list. I'm really looking forward to Great Dictator. I've heard it has one of the best speeches in movie history!


I think I'll start with.. City Lights


This endeavor closely relates to an NPR article I read today: 

The basic idea is that there's so much stuff out there that there's no way you can consume all of it. So, you can rationalize that in two ways. One, "culling", is the approach that you only spend your time on what you've deemed worthwhile. This involves eliminating entire genres (foreign films, science fiction, country music), so now you don't feel as bad for missing material because you've reduced the amount of 'good' stuff. 

The other approach is "surrender". Surrender has a negative connotation, so hear me (and NPR) out on this one. This is embracing the amount of good stuff out there and humbly conceding that you can't hear, read, and watch it all. The final sentence says it well:

" But what we've seen is always going to be a very small cup dipped out of a very big ocean, and turning your back on the ocean to stare into the cup can't change that. "