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From gutter to stardom: Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp turns 100

by Paul Byrnes.


As the First World War began, 100 years ago, Charles Chaplin was making his first movies in Hollywood. While Europe tore itself apart, he became the biggest star the world had ever seen, the first truly international star. He changed not just the idea of what was funny, but the way comedy was filmed. His talent as a director matched his talent as an actor almost from the start.

His first film, Making a Living, premiered on February 2, 1914. He was working for Mack Sennett at Keystone for $150 a week. By March 1916, Chaplin was making a better living than almost anyone on Earth – $US670,000 a year for the Mutual Film Corporation.

His films were used to cheer up the wounded in Britain. In one hospital they rigged projectors to throw the image onto the ceiling for soldiers who could not sit up. An American neurologist wrote asking for signed photographs; they were to be used for soldiers with brain damage. If they could recognise his face, there might be a chance of recovery. That’s how well-known Chaplin had become in just two years.

Read the rest of this article from Brisbane Times.

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