Author: Sid Fleischman
Series: Sid Fleischman has written two other biographies - Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini and The Trouble Begins at 8 A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West
Genres: Biography, Non-fiction, Young Adult, Movies, Childrens
Short summary of the story: Mr. Fleischman tells the story of Charlie Chaplin, starting with an introduction to his father (or was he?) and mother and continuing on with the story of a child who had an extremely unpleasant childhood. This child stopped growing at 5'4" and remained slight his whole life long -- but his spirit was bright and fierce. He invented a personae (later to be named Little Tramp) while a teenager and wanting to tread the boards (be onstage as an entertainer). He had a dexterity and strength and a dancer's grace which allowed him to fall from balconies, do prat falls and engage in acrobatics (without suffering physical harm) that the other actors were envious of and amazed at. He went from a vaudeville situation to being in movies (silent movies) to having some say in those movies to actually producing his own. He spoke his mind and didn't back down when he knew he had a brilliant idea. He first appeared before a camera in 1914. Some of the films he acted in, and later acted in as well as created, are: The Tramp, The Kid, The Gold Rush, Modern Times and Caught in the Rain. While a lot of the focus of the book is on his creating movies, in the midst of that creative genius are the mentions of different people he met, as well as the continuing saga of different members of his family.
I read this book as part of the Book Bingo challenge. I had no expectations before it -- I knew next to nothing about Charlie Chaplin and now feel I have read something which is, at the least, a fairly accurate portrayal of his life. Also, now, after having read it, I have a huge urge to watch many of the movies that Charlie Chaplin made. I think this is a sad book, but with some great moments in it. I'm glad I read it.
See him? That little tramp twitching a postage stamp of a mustache, politely lifting his bowler hat, and leaning on a bamboo cane with the confidence of a gentleman? A slapstick comedian, he blazed forth as the brightest movie star in the Hollywood heavens.
Everyone knew Charlie—Charlie Chaplin.
When he was five years old he was pulled onstage for the first time, and he didn't step off again for almost three-quarters of a century. Escaping the London slums of his tragic childhood, he took Hollywood like a conquistador with a Cockney accent. With his gift for pantomime in films that had not yet acquired vocal cords, he was soon rubbing elbows with royalty and dining on gold plates in his own Beverly Hills mansion. He was the most famous man on earth—and he was regarded as the funniest.
Still is. . . . He comes to life in these pages. It's an astonishing rags-to-riches saga of an irrepressible kid whose childhood was dealt from the bottom of the deck. Abundantly illustrated.