Tuesday, October 21, 2014

For my project, I researched Charlie Chaplin and watched the movie “City Lights”. Chaplin was once considered the most famous and beloved person of all time. His father abandoned him when he was young and his mother was later institutionalized, leaving only Charlie and his brother. Chaplin got his start when his mother lost her voice in the middle of a performance, requiring an eight year old Charlie to take over. As a teenager, he took many jobs, but was always focused on becoming an actor. With some luck, he managed to get discovered. Chaplin was cast in role after role, gaining more and more fame with each film. His iconic character “The Tramp” was recognized worldwide due to his lovable charm and foolishness. He was a grueling perfectionist who had to make the perfect movie each time. Sometimes he would rebuild sets completely or cast an actor for a leading role only to realize halfway through filming that they were not the right choice. When making his most popular films “City Lights”, “Modern Times” and “The Dictator” Chaplin took great care in making a quality movie. He made film itself popular, without him there is no telling how film would be seen today.

In his film, “City Lights”, Chaplin plays his most popular The Tramp. After meeting a beautiful, sweet blind girl, he falls in love with her immediately. The Tramp befriends a drunk millionaire who helps him woo the girl, but only until he sobers up. The Tramp finds an ad to fix blindness so he tries to acquire funding to fly his love to Vienna to get the surgery. After getting the money, The Tramp is wandering the streets with the girl not knowing who he is or what he looks like. Finally The Tramp runs into her and she recognizes his voice, creating one of the most heartfelt moments in all of film. What makes Chaplin’s films so magical is their universal language. Chaplin was resistant to speech in film because he knew that it would completely change how films work. In “City Lights”, Chaplin drives the story through his use of pantomime and body language. He utilizes many wide shots and does not move the camera too often, but thats because he doesn’t need too. At the time, camera movement was used much less than it is today. Story wise, the character of The Tramp has two friends. The blind girl and the drunk millionaire, neither of which can see him for who he truly is for various reasons. The final moment of this story is him finally being recognized as who he truly is.

For my project, I chose to focus on the iconic character of “The Tramp”. Chaplin’s character was at one point the most recognized character in the world. His role as an actor and a filmmaker changed film forever and popularized it far beyond where anyone would think it could have ever gone. The Tramp was lovable, wacky, and foolish. My photo set attempts to emulate the lovable charm that changed film forever. I considered doing a film, but I personally think the photos speak for themselves.


  • Robinson, David. "Charlie Chaplin - Official Website." Charlie Chaplin : Filming Modern Times. MK2 SA, 11 Mar. 2004. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.
  • "Charlie Chaplin - Official Website." Charlie Chaplin: Official Site. AETN UK, 22 July 2002. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.
  • "Sir Charles Spencer, KBE." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.





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