I never had the "old is bad" attitude because my father, a classical musician, was a fierce believer in Beta, and we had large collection of Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and the Marx Brothers. I would try to convince my friends in elementary school how funny and brilliant Charlie was, but few were willing to watch anything in black and white. To my delight, many of my friends now come to me to be "cultured" and I break out my laserdisc (I'm into outdated video technology, I guess) of City Lights and introduce them to the genius therein. This summer I had an outdoor showing of "The Gold Rush" on Super8 (see what I mean?)
But I dont think I fully appreciated the complexity, subtlety, or nuance of his art until I read Dan Kamin's book, "Charlie Chaplin's One Man Show". Mr Kamin is a professional mime whom I have had the good fortune of meeting. His book is an analysis of Chaplin's movement and mime, with an emphasis on Chaplin's "Transformation Gags". I highly reccomend it to anyone who wants to deepen their appreciation of Charlie's art.
Incidentally, at Oberin college, where I did my undergraduate studies, I taught a class called "The 1,2,3 of Classic comedy" in which we looked at the work of Charlie, Laurel and Hardy, and The Marx Brothers. The class was not very well acquainted with any of the three, and had decidedly mixed responses to L&H and the Marxes, but without exception fell in love with Charlie.
Incidentally, it was dan kamin who trained robert downey jr. for his role in the film "Chaplin" (which I thought was terrible) and Johnny Depp for his role in "Bennny and Joon" (which I didn't like either). But both actors did a terrific job.
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