The Tramp at 100: A Charlie Chaplin Centennial

 

 

The mere mention of his name conjures up one of the most easily recognizable visages of the 20th century: the cane, the bowler hat, the dusty trousers, the button moustache — and the kind, forgiving face that solidified Charlie Chaplin as the most versatile, lovable comedic performer of his era, and an icon of world cinema whose very silhouette instantly warms hearts and raises smiles.  Besides their effortless ability to elicit laughs from even the most hardened cynic, part of the magic of Chaplin’s silents comes from their meticulousness, the deliberate grace that could only come from a master artist who took his time controlling every creative aspect.  The character of “The Tramp” was casually improvised in early 1914 while Chaplin was preparing to appear in a short for Mack Sennett’s Keystone studios — and, as the comedian quickly established his onscreen talents, the public’s hunger for the Tramp character grew exponentially.  Celebrate 100 years of our film culture’s worship of this timeless icon with a revisiting of Chaplin’s classic silent films.

 

BUY TICKETS ($12/free for members. Showtimes subject to change):
————————————————————————————————–
THE GOLD RUSH: Friday, 1/24, 7:20pm, Saturday, 1/25, 2:15pm
THE CIRCUS: Thursday, 1/30, 7:30pm
MODERN TIMES: Friday, 1/31, 7:30pm, Saturday, 2/1, 5:00pm
Chaplin Shorts: Monday, 2/3, 7:30pm
THE KID & A DOG’S LIFE: Friday, 2/7, 7:30pm
CITY LIGHTS: Friday, 2/14, 7:30pm, Saturday, 2/15, 5:00pm

 

City Lights (2/15)

Chaplin's hidden masterpiece!
citylights_website
2/15/2014 - 5PM

As the sound era dawned, everyone wanted to hear the Tramp speak — everyone, that is, except Chaplin himself. Feeling that words in the Tramp’s mouth would evaporate the universality of the character, Chaplin pushed ahead with City Lights, easily his most focused, shining effort, and a rare silent film produced after the Twenties had closed. The Tramp befriends a blind girl who believes he’s a millionaire, and tries his hand at a variety of odd jobs to pay for her eye operation — meanwhile, a real-life fantastically kooky alcoholic millionaire becomes the Tramp’s new best friend, except for that thing where he tries to get the Tramp arrested every time they sober up. Seriously funny and deeply affecting, especially in a devastating final scene that will leave no audience member unmoved, City Lights is a marvel for being such a tightly-wound, densely-plotted work (even though it was born out of Chaplin’s obsessive on-the-fly scripting while the film was in production), and it feels light as air to boot.
Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1931, 35mm, 87 min.

Watch the trailer for “City Lights”!
YouTube Preview Image

City Lights (2/14)

Chaplin's hidden masterpiece!
citylights_website
2/14/2014 - 7:30PM

As the sound era dawned, everyone wanted to hear the Tramp speak — everyone, that is, except Chaplin himself. Feeling that words in the Tramp’s mouth would evaporate the universality of the character, Chaplin pushed ahead with City Lights, easily his most focused, shining effort, and a rare silent film produced after the Twenties had closed. The Tramp befriends a blind girl who believes he’s a millionaire, and tries his hand at a variety of odd jobs to pay for her eye operation — meanwhile, a real-life fantastically kooky alcoholic millionaire becomes the Tramp’s new best friend, except for that thing where he tries to get the Tramp arrested every time they sober up. Seriously funny and deeply affecting, especially in a devastating final scene that will leave no audience member unmoved, City Lights is a marvel for being such a tightly-wound, densely-plotted work (even though it was born out of Chaplin’s obsessive on-the-fly scripting while the film was in production), and it feels light as air to boot.
Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1931, 35mm, 87 min.

Watch the trailer for “City Lights”!
YouTube Preview Image

The Kid + A Dog's Life

The first feature film with The Tramp!
thekid_website2013
2/7/2014 - 7:30PM

“But it was in The Kid that Chaplin seemed to realize, at last, precisely what was required.” — Walter Kerr, The Silent Clowns

In one of Chaplin’s most moving and beloved films, the Tramp adopts an abandoned toddler (Jackie Coogan) whom he discovers in an alley, and raises him to become his sidekick in a variety of schemes and cons. Chaplin’s first feature-length directorial effort, The Kid is a moving and hilarious portrait of paternal love, or as the film’s first intertitle says, “A picture with a smile, and perhaps a tear…” As well, it’s the landmark work of genius in which Charlie the jester blossomed into Charlie the full-blooded actor, whose iconic dignity in the face of comic adversity has continued to make him one of our greatest cinematic treasures. Shown before the feature is A Dog’s Life, the 1918 short that the presages The Kid, and features the Tramp’s sweet misadventures in the company of a young pup, who happily watches as Chaplin hides from the cops, taunts hard-faced gangster types, and tries to get the girl!
The Kid Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1921, 35mm, 54 min.
A Dog’s Life Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1918, 35mm, 33 min.

Charlie Chaplin Shorts

The best from the early days of the Tramp!
chaplinshorts_website
2/3/2014 - 7:30PM

When the Tramp’s name is invoked, one immediately thinks of the most beloved of all silent comedy features: The Gold Rush. City Lights. Modern Times. Besides their effortless ability to elicit laughs from even the most hardened cynic, part of their genius comes from their meticulousness, their deliberate strides that could only come from a master artist who took his time controlling every creative aspect. Chaplin achieved that level of artistry after tirelessly honing his timing, his persona and his filmmaking through a decade’s worth of inventive and satisfying one- and two-reelers that solidified him as the most versatile, lovable comedic performer of his era, and an icon of world cinema whose very silhouette instantly warms hearts and raises smiles. Join us for a night of the rarely-screened and the very best from Chaplin’s first ten years of movie stardom: The Idle Class, A Day’s Pleasure and Sunnyside.
The Idle Class Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1921, 35mm, 32 min.
A Day’s Pleasure Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1919, 35mm, 19 min.
Sunnyside Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1919, 35mm, 30 min.

Modern Times (2/1)

Serious and silly, comtemplative and crazy!
moderntimes_newsite
2/1/2014 - 5PM

In the process of producing his farewell to silent film as a medium, Chaplin crafted in Modern Times a superlative statement about the American everyman’s place amongst the crushing realities of the Great Depression, all couched inside truly memorable slapstick conceits whose images haven’t lost an ounce of their power. From its Metropolis-meets-DEVO “mechanized man” opening act (which would later inspire the classic “assembly line” routine from I Love Lucy), to its later “department store fantasia,” political demonstration, prison break and high-class restaurant sequences, this send-up of both capitalism and its socialist counterpart delivers its powerful message amongst a non-stop parade of magnificent antics handpicked and re-created from Chaplin’s early days — and a clever, subtle sound-effects backdrop that never intrudes on the “silent”-ness at the film’s core. Serious and silly, contemplative and crazy, Modern Times is an unmissable treasure.
Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1936, 35mm, 87 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Modern Times”!
YouTube Preview Image

Modern Times (1/31)

Serious and silly, comtemplative and crazy!
moderntimes_newsite
1/31/2014 - 7:30PM

In the process of producing his farewell to silent film as a medium, Chaplin crafted in Modern Times a superlative statement about the American everyman’s place amongst the crushing realities of the Great Depression, all couched inside truly memorable slapstick conceits whose images haven’t lost an ounce of their power. From its Metropolis-meets-DEVO “mechanized man” opening act (which would later inspire the classic “assembly line” routine from I Love Lucy), to its later “department store fantasia,” political demonstration, prison break and high-class restaurant sequences, this send-up of both capitalism and its socialist counterpart delivers its powerful message amongst a non-stop parade of magnificent antics handpicked and re-created from Chaplin’s early days — and a clever, subtle sound-effects backdrop that never intrudes on the “silent”-ness at the film’s core. Serious and silly, contemplative and crazy, Modern Times is an unmissable treasure.
Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1936, 35mm, 87 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Modern Times”!
YouTube Preview Image

The Circus

Iconic, beautifully executed Chaplin setpieces!
circus_newsite
1/30/2014 - 7:30PM

“It is Chaplin’s great elegy to the lost art of music-hall pantomime and, for that matter, the soon-to-be lost art of silent-film comedy.” — Christian Blauvelt, Slant

After The Gold Rush made him an even bigger star than he previously was, Chaplin focused the subject matter of his follow-up film inwards, turning the spotlight on the act of comedy-making itself. The Circus finds The Tramp running afoul of the law and hiding out within the confines of a travelling three-ring operation. Barging in during the middle of a performance, the Tramp inadvertently displays astounding comic skills on the stage, and becomes the circus’s new hottest act. This deceptively simple set-up gives Chaplin one of his greatest possibility-laden canvases, one onto which he projects a fantastic run of iconic, beautifully executed comic set-pieces: the funhouse hall-of-mirrors chase, the monkey-laden tightrope walk, and his perilous, hilarious stint stuck in the lion cage.
Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1928, 35mm, 72 min.

Watch the classic “monkey tightrope” scene from “The Circus”!
YouTube Preview Image

The Gold Rush (1/25)

The largest comedy epic of its time!
goldrush_newsite2
1/25/2014 - 2:15PM

Chaplin’s The Gold Rush stands as the largest-scale epic comedy event of its time, packed full of astounding visual gags, a tender romance full of butterflies in the stomach, and the perfect balance of slapstick to pathos (a delicate mixture, of which Chaplin was the undisputed king.) Here, the Tramp is a Klondike gold prospector; while trapped in a tiny frozen cabin with no food during an intense winter, he performs some of his all-time most famous bits: Walking Against The Wind, the Chicken Suit, and Eating His Shoe. These energizing sequences are matched by the film’s second half, with The Tramp falling in love from a distance with Alaskan beauty Georgia Hale, giving us our hero’s most tender act: the Dance of the Dinner Rolls, an indelible moment so perfect that only a virtuoso like Chaplin could’ve mastered it. Charlie claimed that The Gold Rush was the one film he wished to be remembered by — and rightly so, as this enduring classic richly deserves the title.
Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1925, 35mm, 88 min.

Watch the legendary “Dance of the Dinner Rolls” scene from “The Gold Rush”!
YouTube Preview Image

The Gold Rush (1/24)

The largest comedy epic of its time!
goldrush_newsite
1/24/2014 - 7:20PM

Chaplin’s The Gold Rush stands as the largest-scale epic comedy event of its time, packed full of astounding visual gags, a tender romance full of butterflies in the stomach, and the perfect balance of slapstick to pathos (a delicate mixture, of which Chaplin was the undisputed king.) Here, the Tramp is a Klondike gold prospector; while trapped in a tiny frozen cabin with no food during an intense winter, he performs some of his all-time most famous bits: Walking Against The Wind, the Chicken Suit, and Eating His Shoe. These energizing sequences are matched by the film’s second half, with The Tramp falling in love from a distance with Alaskan beauty Georgia Hale, giving us our hero’s most tender act: the Dance of the Dinner Rolls, an indelible moment so perfect that only a virtuoso like Chaplin could’ve mastered it. Charlie claimed that The Gold Rush was the one film he wished to be remembered by — and rightly so, as this enduring classic richly deserves the title.
Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1925, 35mm, 88 min.

Watch the legendary “Dance of the Dinner Rolls” scene from “The Gold Rush”!
YouTube Preview Image

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