Chaplin: A Life

Stephen Weissman, Author, Geraldine Chaplin, Introduction by . Arcade $27.99 (315p) ISBN 978-1-55970-892-0

Weissman, professor at the Washington School of Psychiatry, examines Charlie Chaplin's life and work from a psychoanalytical perspective. Believing in “using a life to read a film and a film to read a life,” Weissman focuses on Chaplin's childhood and early career, giving scant attention to his later adult life. Most telling is the relationship with his mother. Her madness, brought on by starvation and syphilis, Weissman believes, manifests itself in Chaplin's films with a recurring theme: the rescue of a downtrodden female. For example, City Lights is a “childhood rescue fantasy” of saving his parents, while Limelight is filled with references to his alcoholic father. Weissman uncovers the source for the “shabby gentility” of the Little Tramp, as well as the development of that extraordinary character. En route, he paints an engaging if narrowly focused portrait of how a cinema artist is created and how he practices his craft. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/13/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-62872-185-0
Paperback - 315 pages - 978-1-61145-040-8
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-61145-372-0
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