Chaplin and American Culture: The Evolution of a Star Image

Overview

Charles Maland focuses on the cultural sources of the on-and-off, love-hate affair between Chaplin and the American public that was perhaps the stormiest in American stardom. "A fascinating, ambitious and incisive look at American culture and at the cinematic genius."--Robin Lippincott, New York Times Book Review "Maland pioneers a new approach to Chaplin.... Anyone interested in Chaplin must read it. And those engaged in the task of bringing to film history a new awareness of the cultural and political context ...
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Overview

Charles Maland focuses on the cultural sources of the on-and-off, love-hate affair between Chaplin and the American public that was perhaps the stormiest in American stardom. "A fascinating, ambitious and incisive look at American culture and at the cinematic genius."--Robin Lippincott, New York Times Book Review "Maland pioneers a new approach to Chaplin.... Anyone interested in Chaplin must read it. And those engaged in the task of bringing to film history a new awareness of the cultural and political context of film production and reception will find this a book to think about, argue with, and learn from."--Tom Gunning, Film Quarterly "[Here is] the story behind Charlie Chaplin's rise and fall from grace in the public eye, his attempts to redeem his stardom, his twenty-year banishment from the United States, and his qualified rapprochement.... [Maland] puts us in touch with those times past but also confronts us with those still-lurking societal instincts that urge a culture's killing of its prophets."--Gerard Molyneaux, Flashback

This is a biography of the rise and fall and rise again of a star's image, in this case Charlie Chaplin's.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In the centenary of his birth, much has already been published about one of the most closely scrutinized figures in film history. Maland's intention is take Charlie in the ``context'' of his times, to examine how he fell from grace (and was rehabilitated), both as a film artist and as a public figure. Maland is stronger on the latter, detailing Chaplin's agonizing paternity suit and his subsequent political persecution and final exile to Switzerland. But there is little new here, either in material unearthed or fresh insights. The superior work on the same subject is David Robinson's Chaplin: The Mirror of Opinion (LJ 11/1/83).-- Thomas Wiener, formerly with ``American Film''
New York Times Book Review
A fascinating, ambitious and incisive look at American culture and at the cinematic genius.
— Robin Lippincott
Film Quarterly
Maland pioneers a new approach to Chaplin.... Anyone interested in Chaplin must read it. And those engaged in the task of bringing to film history a new awareness of the cultural and political context of film production and reception will find this a book to think about, argue with, and learn from.
— Tom Gunning
Flashback
[Here is] the story behind Charlie Chaplin's rise and fall from grace in the public eye, his attempts to redeem his stardom, his twenty-year banishment from the United States, and his qualified rapprochement.... [Maland] puts us in touch with those times past but also confronts us with those still-lurking societal instincts that urge a culture's killing of its prophets.
— Gerard Molyneaux
New York Times Book Review - Robin Lippincott
A fascinating, ambitious and incisive look at American culture and at the cinematic genius.
Film Quarterly - Tom Gunning
Maland pioneers a new approach to Chaplin.... Anyone interested in Chaplin must read it. And those engaged in the task of bringing to film history a new awareness of the cultural and political context of film production and reception will find this a book to think about, argue with, and learn from.
Flashback - Gerard Molyneaux
[Here is] the story behind Charlie Chaplin's rise and fall from grace in the public eye, his attempts to redeem his stardom, his twenty-year banishment from the United States, and his qualified rapprochement.... [Maland] puts us in touch with those times past but also confronts us with those still-lurking societal instincts that urge a culture's killing of its prophets.
From the Publisher

"A fascinating, ambitious and incisive look at American culture and at the cinematic genius."--Robin Lippincott, New York Times Book Review

"Maland pioneers a new approach to Chaplin.... Anyone interested in Chaplin must read it. And those engaged in the task of bringing to film history a new awareness of the cultural and political context of film production and reception will find this a book to think about, argue with, and learn from."--Tom Gunning, Film Quarterly

"[Here is] the story behind Charlie Chaplin's rise and fall from grace in the public eye, his attempts to redeem his stardom, his twenty-year banishment from the United States, and his qualified rapprochement.... [Maland] puts us in touch with those times past but also confronts us with those still-lurking societal instincts that urge a culture's killing of its prophets."--Gerard Molyneaux, Flashback

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691094403
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1989
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Credits xi
Preface xiii
Acknowledgments xix
Abbreviations xxi
Part 1 To the Top
1 Chaplin, the Early Films, and the Rise to Stardom 3
The Rough-Edged Diamond: Charlie at Keystone
"Chaplinitis": Charlie at Essanay
The Genteel Tradition and the "Vulgar" Charlie
Romance and Pathos: The "Refining" of Charlie
2 The Perils of Popularity 25
Chaplin's Star Image in the Mutual Period
The Further "Refining" of Charlie
Chaplin the "Slacker"?
The First Marriage and Divorce
Troubles at First National
Part 2 At the Top: Charlie and the 1920s
3 From The Kid to The Gold Rush 55
Finishing Up at First National
Interviews and Writings in the Early 1920s
Branching Out: A Woman of Paris
Creating an Epic: The Gold Rush
Cultivating the Intelligentsia
4 Struggling through the Twenties 94
Chaplin and Lita Grey
Mixed Reviews: The Press and the Second Divorce
The Burdens of Being Funny: The Circus
Charlie and the Threat of the Talkies
Farewell to the Twenties: City Lights
Part 3 The Challenge of Progressive Politics
5 The Depression, the World Tour, and Modern Times 127
A Comedian Sees--and Comments on--the World
Critics, Artists, and Depression America
Chaplin's Public Politics before 1936
Modern Times: Production, Publicity, and Promotion
Modern Times: Political Ambiguity and Critical Response
6 The Popular Front, The Great Dictator, and the Second Front, 1936-1942 159
The Popular Front and American Antifascism
The Great Dictator: Preparation, Production, and Promotion
The Great Dictator and the Aesthetic Contract
Critical, National, and International Reaction to The Great Dictator
Chaplin and the Second Front
Part 4 Unraveling
7 Joan Barry, the Press, and the Tarnished Image 197
The Affair
Chaplin, Barry, and the Courts
Chaplin, Barry, and the Gossip Columnists
The Press and the Barry-Chaplin Story
8 Monsieur Verdoux and the Cold War: Irreconcilable Differences 221
The Hollywood Emigres
The Cooling of Progressivism in Early Postwar America
Lashing Out: Monsieur Verdoux
Monsieur Verdoux: Initial Promotion and Reception
The Campaign That Failed
9 Chaplin's Politics and American Culture, 1943-1952 253
Chaplin the Progressive Activist, 1943-1949
Chaplin and the U.S. Congress
Chaplin and the FBI: The Internal Security File
Backing Away from Politics, 1950-1952
10 Limelight and Banishment: The Futility of Reconciliation 279
Chaplin, the U.S. Government, and Banishment, 1952-1953
Limelight: Autobiography and the Aesthetic Contract
Critical Response to Limelight
The Press and Banishment
The Limelight Boycott and Chaplin's Star Image
Part 5 The Exile and America
11 The Exiled Monarch and the Guarded Restoration, 1953-1977 317
Running Battles: Chaplin, American Culture, and the Later 1950s
Shifting Winds: The 1960s
A Guarded Restoration: The 1972 Return Tour
Rereleases and Chaplin's Star Image in the 1970s
12 Epilogue 361
Notes 375
Select Bibliography 419
Index 427
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