The Tramp Who Was A Champ

Charlie Chaplin Movies

Charlie Chaplin, The Tramp.

There is no need for a further introduction.With a 75-year-old career in which he made millions and millions laugh, Chaplin is an institution himself.

From the silent era to sound, he was probably the most well-know man in the universe. Life was never easy for Chaplin when he was put in a workhouse at a young age and he and his mother struggled during those days. But Chaplin relentlessly pursued his love for acting and by age 30 he was already well-known. His life was filled with controversies, including suspicion that he was a Communist, but he fought them all.

Here is a trip down memory lane to appreciate the contributions of The Tramp to mark his 40th death anniversary on December 25..

The Kid (1921)       

The Kid (1921)Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance
Director: Charlie Chaplin

As with all Chaplin films, there is always a social message behind the story. Here a woman abandons a boy (Jackie Coogan) at childbirth after becoming estranged with her husband. The boy is found by a tramp (Chaplin) and he reluctantly takes charge of him.

The boy, named John, helps the Tramp by becoming his partner in crime. They resort to small robberies to survive. The mother then wants her child back and sets out to find him.

The boy is finally identified and sent home after a reward is put out. The Tramp is broken-hearted and finally things take a turn for the better. This was Chaplin’s first full length feature film.

The Gold Rush (1925)

The Gold Rush (1925)Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain, Tom Murray, Malcolm Waite
Director: Charlie Chaplin

This was Chaplin’s all-time favourite film and he always wanted to be remembered for it. It was inspired after Chaplin saw a picture of the Gold Rush in 1896.

Still in his Tramp persona, Chaplin cast himself as a gold digger who along with his friend search for the elusive metal during a blizzard. The gold diggers face all kinds of hardships including hunger and have to brave the elements to reach their goal.

In one of the most classic scenes in cinema, Chaplin tries to eat his own shoe to quell his hunger pangs while his partner sees him as a chicken while getting delusions and tries to capture him.

Modern Times (1936)

Modern Times (1936)Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Tiny Sandford
Director:  Charlie Chaplin

Chaplin returns again as the little tramp, this time struggling to get to grips after the industrial revolution. He is inept when it comes to putting screws into machinery at a rapid pace.

He then gets arrested and is jailed, but become mentally unstable. He meets an orphan girl Ellen (Goddard) who helps him.

But the Tramp is trying every which way to get his life back on the tracks. After many misadventures, the Tramp gets a job in a hotel. But nothing works and Ellen and he walk away towards a bleak future.

The Great Dictator (1940)

The Great Dictator (1940)Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie
Director: Charlie Chaplin

Chaplin’s first political satire is a case of mistaken identity, one a ruthless dictator and other a Jewish barber, both played by him.

The story is a sarcastic comment on Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Nazis and Fascists. It reflects the conditions prevalent during the World War days and how the barber cleverly becomes the dictator when the need arises.

The movie was Chaplin’s biggest commercial success and his first truly sound film.

Monsieur Verdoux  (1946)

Monsieur Verdoux  (1946)Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Martha Raye, William Frawley
Director: Charlie Chaplin

Chaplin abandons his Tramp image for this film too. He plays Monsieur Verdoux, a serial killer, who seeks opportunities to trap women, steal their money and later kill them.

He has many such encounters before he meets first a girl whom he tries to kill with a new poison which was banned. She escapes and he later finds Annabelle (Raye) who somehow escapes his attempts.

The guillotine finally beckons after Verdoux is trapped. He walks towards it, without any qualms.

Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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