Charlie Chaplin was a skilled comedian, filmmaker and composer, and the mission of this book is to educate readers on the wide variety of Chaplin’s artistry: the subtlety of his mimetic satire, the sophistication of his film direction, and his prodigious musical skill that resulted in some of film’s greatest orchestral arrangements. This encyclopedia also emphasizes the singular nature of Chaplin’s biography: his unprecedented renown, the wide list of notables in art and culture with whom he fraternized, and the controversies that seemed to dog each stage of his life, perhaps most notably in his run-ins with the FBI and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, both of whom suspected him of communist leanings.
Charlie Chaplin: A Reference Guide to His Life and Works captures his life, and legacy. It features a chronology, an introduction that offers a brief account of his life, and a dictionary section listing entries on Chaplin’s childhood, career, family, and associates. The bibliography is one of the largest available of works concerning Chaplin.
John Fawell writes widely on film, art and literature, with articles and books on figures as diverse as Tolstoy, Van Gogh, Paul Valery and Sergio Leone. Among his books are his study of the Hollywood studio era, The Hidden Art of Hollywood, and a previous volume on Chaplin, The Essence of Chaplin.
About the author
Charlie Chaplin continues to entertain and inspire people around the world. A rigorous reference book on the man and his filmmaking is long overdue, especially for the general public. Fawell begins this volume with a 15-page chronology. The introduction summarizes Chaplin’s life, his personae, and his societal context and influence. The main part of the book consists of an alphabetical list of entries on individuals, films, and themes that range in length from a paragraph to five pages; most entries include see-also references. The author focuses on aspects of Chaplin’s art: his filmmaking style, the mechanics of his comedy, his expressive satire, his composing, and his companions. He also gives more room to earlier films to counterbalance later, more well-known films. Besides the entries on major films, mention is given to less obvious topics. A filmography, notes, and an extensive bibliography conclude the volume. Fawell’s writing is accessible, analytical, and well cited, and the two-column layout facilitates reading the dense text. This book will intrigue film enthusiasts.