Charlie Chaplin’s birthday occurs on April 16th, but really we can celebrate him anytime we like. Simply the greatest comedian on the big screen ever. Here’s a piece I produced that was broadcast today on WBAI’s Arts Express, WBAI.org, and on Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to listen.
After Charlie Chaplin’s American passport was revoked during the McCarthy era, he made a movie in his exile called A King in New York, about a monarch who visits the US and is subjected to a HUAC-like Congressional panel. In one particularly pointed scene, the King visits a progressive school and gets an earful from an anarchist-minded young lad, serendipitously played by Chaplin’s own 10-year old son, Michael. Both a spoof and delineation of anarchist ideas and those who promulgate them, it’s some of the most radical talk you’ll hear in a studio motion picture.
Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times has more great comic set pieces than just about any other movie I can think of (see here, here, and here for examples). The waiter scene above is yet one more clip from the film that makes me just drop my jaw at its conception and execution.