Supernatural and rumpled!Chaplin

  • Dec. 17th, 2010 at 12:41 PM
my_daroga: ambiguous? (batman)
So, five years late, I've finally watched the first two episodes of Supernatural. I guess the tipping point was nearly everyone I know wanting to talk about it? And I wanted to give it a chance, I really did, but I don't think it's for me. Not trying to pick a fight, just my curmudgeonly observations. )

On a completely unrelated note, I found this photo on tumblr and I just can't get over it. I think it's because we don't see older stars in photos like this: they're either in a film, or it's posed. And while there are plenty of candids of Chaplin, he at least usually has his hair combed and doesn't look like he rolled out of bed. So maybe I do have a little of that People magazine thing in me, because I can't stop looking at it. Sort of like that photo of Welles, Hayworth and a birthday cake.

I mean, honestly. How is that even the same person? And how much do I want to play with his hair?

For still another unusual view of Chaplin, this 1915 film has him in drag, and tricking the two men after him into kissing. He's sort of adorable. The drag part starts around 14:50.

The Little Fellow and The Gold Rush

  • Dec. 12th, 2010 at 1:45 PM
my_daroga: Portrait of Charles Chaplin (charlie chaplin)

The other day, [personal profile] lettered and I watched The Gold Rush. There was no little consternation on our part, discovering the 1942 reissue (and, I believe, the primary DVD source) contained Chaplin's narration and music, which I find interesting from a historical/personal perspective but really rather horrible to actually watch/listen to. While it is ably performed--the synchronization and the sound effects, especially, were well-done--the whole thing really takes away one of the joys of silent pictures. And that is the interaction with the viewer when it comes to interpreting the text. With silent films, there is a constant conversation being held between the film and the spectator, because while the pantomime should be obvious, it is not put into words. And it's the audience's job to determine how many words they need, or whether they are watching on a more elemental level. Sometimes I can read their lips, but most of the time I'm participating on the level of gesture, suggestion. I don't want to know the Tramp's thought processes--it takes away part of the magic, for me. (It also highlights Chaplin's weaknesses as a scriptwriter, because his added dialogue is far less charming than what I might have put into his mouth.) That said, the thought of Chaplin revisiting this some 17 years later and commenting on "the Little Fellow" as he called the character is intriguing.

Read more... )

I've also been reading some about him. There's an excellent volume of reaction and criticism entitled The Essential Chaplin, edited by critic Richard Schickel. What's great about it is that it collects contemporary reactions to him, and thereby records not only his career but part of the trajectory of film writing. It's fascinating to get a glimpse of how people wrote about film when there wasn't yet a canon to write about. And the figuring of film in popular culture and art. I will say that the book is one of the WORST proofed professional volumes I've ever read, with glaring typos throughout. Also, Schickel's introductions to the essays and reviews are helpful context, but he's extremely dismissive of some of the contributors for my taste, outright derisive at times. But it's an interesting book.

I've yet to find an actual biography that doesn't fall directly into either the "godlike genius" or "perverse hack" categories most bios of creative people seem to be unable to avoid.

And, because... I don't even know:

The Church of Man Love

  • Nov. 29th, 2010 at 8:51 AM
my_daroga: ambiguous? (batman)

Has anyone else encountered the phrase "GlamRPF" in their fandom travels and been really disappointed that it's not David Bowie/Iggy Pop/Marc Bolan/Lou Reed?

I think the reason I'm so confused is they cornered "glam" long before Adam Lambert and on top of that, there's a whole group of them, whereas as far as I can tell, GlamRPF is... Adam Lambert RPF. The problem, probably, is not enough people writing about David Bowie having sex, which is a CRIME.

Bowie's waiting...

In other news...

...I've been recognized several times as "Captain Kirk" and once, last night, as Puck. Usually while at other theatrical productions unaffiliated with the ones I was part of. Which feels awesome, actually, and despite the fact there's no value or review in "hey, I saw you," it reminds me to keep trying and that eight (or more? I've lost count) rejections in a row doesn't mean no one wants me.

Also I think I know my Halloween costume for next year. It's highly unoriginal, and quite early, but if I get started now I may indeed have procured a topcoat, baggy pants, large shoes, suspenders, a cane, and a bowler by next October.

Too many thoughts about Chaplin

  • Nov. 22nd, 2010 at 8:45 PM
my_daroga: Orson Welles (orson)
I just finished watching Limelight, and a few days ago did Monsieur Verdoux, which means in the past few months I've seen The Kid, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator and Unknown Chaplin as well as the last two. And I'm trying to get my thoughts on Chaplin in order, because I'm fascinated by him and by my reaction to him. What's especially interesting is how I was, for the past thirty years, singularly uninterested in him--he was too famous, and it is/was in vogue to prefer Keaton, as if there's some sort of rule about only liking one or that you have to claim some sort of allegience. There's a strange criticism I've internalized along the way, something about Chaplin being too sentimental, too concerned with pathos, as if that's a negative attribute.
Read more... )
my_daroga: Orson Welles (orson)
I have a confession to make: Until about two weeks ago, I'd never seen a Charlie Chaplin film all the way through.

I'd seen clips, of course, on tv and in film classes, but frankly I'd always taken the “it's cooler to like Buster Keaton” thing to heart, which I think is actually the dominant conventional going-against-convention view—for anyone who still cares about silent films, anyway. Not that I don't still love Keaton, and actually, I like his movies better. (Though there really doesn't need to be a competition—I think they were friendly, anyway.) But two weeks ago I watched The Great Dictator and fell in love. Not necessarily with Chaplin's movies, however.

Great Dictator, Chaplin is cute, biopics, Unknown Chaplin )


my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (Default)
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