[Continued from Charlie Chaplin 4.16.13 Thought of the Day: Part One]
Having fulfilled his contract with National, Chaplin was free to work on independent projects for United Artists, a group he formed with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D. W. Griffith in 1919. With the Gold Rush in 1925 he made the movie he wanted to be remembered by.
Through his work, Chaplin came to be known as a grueling perfectionist. His love for experimentation often meant countless retakes and it was not uncommon for him to order the rebuilding of an entire set. It also wasn’t rare for him to begin with one leading actor, realize he’d made a mistake in his casting, and start again with someone new…But the results were hard to refute. [Biography]
His later films include City Lights, 1931, Modern Times, 1936 and The Great Dictator, 1940. He made a half dozen more films (most noteably Lime Light co starring Buster Keaton) but they paled in comparison to his earlier work. No one, it seemed, was interested in Chaplin sans bowler hat and mustache.
Chaplin’s personal life was always in the spot light. He was married 4 times to women decades his junior. He had numerous affairs with his leading ladies. He didn’t join the British Army in WWI (which caused a lot of controversy back home in England. –Chaplin had registered for the draft, but had not been called up. He also worked for the War effort raising money through Liberty Bonds and producing propaganda films — but it wasn’t enough to satiate the flag waving mania sweeping his home country.) He was never afraid to voice his political views and after The Great Dictator (with it’s brilliant, but preachy six-minute closing speech) he was branded a radical. In the 1950’s he was a target of the House Un-American Activities Committee who “saw him as a nonconformist and therefore a communist.” [About.com] When he tried to return to the States after a trip abroad he was denied entry. (He went to live in Switzerland.)
He stayed away… until 1972 when he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award. He was given a 12 minuted standing ovation at the ceremony.
Chaplin also composed music. He wrote the songs “Smile” and “This is My Song” along with 500 other melodies.
Charlie Chaplin died of a stroke on Christmas morning 1977.
- 1929 WON Special Academy Award “for versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus“
- 1941 Nominated for Best Actor Oscar for his dual role in The Great Dictator.
- 1941 Nominated for Best Writing Oscar for The Great Dictator..
- 1948 Nominated for Best Screenplay Oscar for Monsieur Verdoux.
- 1972 WON Special Honorary Academy Award for “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”.
- 1973 WON The Academy Award for Best Original Score for Limelight. (The film had not been released in the US until 1972).