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The Cat's Meow (2001) starring Edward Herrmann, Cary Elwes, Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard

The Cat’s Meow

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The Cat’s Meow (2001) starring Edward Herrmann, Cary Elwes, Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard

The Cat’s Meow is the semi-true story of the Hollywood murder that occurred at a star-studded gathering aboard William Randolph Hearst’s yacht in 1924.

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Modern Times

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 Summary of Modern Times,  (1936), starring Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard

Modern Times begins with Charlie Chaplin as Charlie the Little Tramp gainfully employed at a factory. However, the strict regimentation is driving him to the brink … Then over the brink, when the factory owner has him as the “guinea pig” € for a “time-saving” feeding machine. This leads to Charlie spending time in a mental hospital.   Cured after his breakdown. But then he is arrested and jailed when …. He innocently picks up a red flag that has fallen off the back of a truck and runs down the street to return it …. Just when a communist demonstration comes around the corner. He meets Paulette Goddard as ‘€˜The Gamin’ (a street urchin) in the back of the police van. She is arrested for stealing bread. From then on the theme is about the two trying to get along in … modern times

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The Great Dictator

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The Great Dictator, starring Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert

The Great Dictator, possibly the most well-known of Charlie Chaplin’s films, was a timely satire on Nazisim and fascism in general, and Adolph Hitler in particular. In it, Charlie Chaplin plays a double role — Adenoid Hynkel, autocratic dictator of Tomania who blames the Jewish people for all of society’s ills, and a Jewish Barber who happens to be the spitting image of Hynkel. Contrary to what some people believe, the Jewish Barber was not Chaplin’s world-famous tramp character, although they clearly share some of the same traits. The film is a true classic, with the famous “dance with the globe” where Hynkel dances with an oversized inflated image of the globe, fantasizing about his eventual conquests. The film ends with the famous “Look Up, Hannah” speech which is, perhaps, both verbose and even hokey, but it fits properly and plays well.

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The Circus (1928) starring Charlie Chaplin

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The Circus, produced & directed by Charlie Chaplin. Starring Charlie Chaplin, Merna Kennedy, Al Garcia, Harry Crocker, Henry Bergman

Synopsis of Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus:

The Circus is one of the Little Tramp’s most poignant roles, as well as one of  Charlie Chaplin’s funniest silent movies — €” for which he won a special Oscar. It begins with the Tramp attending a small circus that comes to town. He haphazardly bumps into a pickpocket, who hides his ill-gotten goods in the Tramp’s pocket. This soon leads to a marvelous chase, with the police chasing both the pickpocket and the Tramp. At one point the pickpocket and the Tramp are running in parallel …. And the Tramp politely tips his hat to the thief. After a chase through the hall of mirrors (which has to be seen). The Tramp accidentally runs into the circus’ center ring, where he is unintentionally hilarious. The circus owner/ringmaster auditions the Tramp as a new clown. Only to find out that he can’t be funny on purpose — €” only unintentionally.

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City Lights

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In City Lights, Charlie Chaplin plays the part of Charlie the little tramp, a homeless vagabond, who encounters a flower girl, only to discover that she’s blind. After Charlie rescues an inebriated rich man from committing suicide, the eccentric millionaire decides that Charlie is his best friend, and takes him out partying, gives him a car, etc. — only to totally forgot about him when he’s sober.

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Limelight (1952) starring Charlie Chaplin, Claire Bloom, Sydney Chaplin, Nigel Bruce, Buster Keaton

Limelight is a truly wonderful film; it swiftly became one of my favorites. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a once-great stage comedian (Calvero, a formerly great tramp clown, played by  Charlie Chaplin), who’s been failing in his career, and has become an alcoholic, who saves the life of  Terry, a despondent ballerina (played by  Claire Bloom) from a suicide attempt. The film is a juxtaposition of these two personalities, one who rallies & goes onward, the other who falls further.

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The Kid (1921) starring Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance

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The Kid, produced & directed by Charlie Chaplin. Starring Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan

Synopsis of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid:

The Kid was Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length movie. It, more than anything else to that date, made Chaplin a living legend. It took over a year to produce, and was an incredible success for Chaplin. The opening title reads: “A comedy with a smile — €and perhaps a tear.”  As a woman (Edna Purviance) leaves a charity hospital with a newborn.  She passes a church wedding, leaving her baby with a pleading note in a limousine. Then she goes off to commit suicide. She turns from suicide at the last moment to return to her child, only to find him missing. The limo had been stolen by thieves who dumped the baby by a garbage can.  Charlie the Tramp finds the baby. After failing to pass the child on to someone more suitable, raises the child himself.

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