Humor is kindly. Wit is caustic.
From Chaplin’s manuscript notes
Humor is kindly. Wit is caustic.
From Chaplin’s manuscript notes
My prodigious sin was, and still is, being a non-conformist.
From “My Autobiography”: “Friends have asked how I came to engender this American antagonism. My prodigious sin was, and still is, being a non¬conformist. Although I am not a Communist I refused to fall in line by hating them. This, of course, has offended many […]
Secondly, I was opposed to the Committee on Un-American Activities — a dishonest phrase to begin with, elastic enough to wrap around the throat and strangle the voice of any American citizen whose honest opinion is a minority one.
Thirdly, I have never attempted to become an American citizen.”
One either rises to an occasion or succumbs to it.
From “My Autobiography”. On the occasion of his first performance in Karno’s The Football Match, Chaplin remembers: “At the back of the enormous stage I walked up and down, with anxiety superimposed on fear, praying to myself. There was the music! The curtain rose! On the stage was a chorus of men exercising. Eventually they exited, leaving the stage empty. That was my cue. In an emotional chaos I went on. One either rises to an occasion or succumbs to it. The moment I walked on to the stage I was relieved, everything was clear”
To work is to live - and I love to live.
June 30, 1976 to journalists. Quoted in the Chronology section of David Robinson’s “Chaplin: His Life and Art”
The heart and the mind ... what an enigma.
Calvero says this in Limelight
Let us fight for a new world.
From Chaplin’s final speech in The Great Dictator.
I hate the sight of blood, but it's in my veins.
In a scene in Limelight, Terry says to Calvero: “I thought you hated the theatre,” and Calvero replies, “I do. I also hate the sight of blood, but it’s in my veins.”
The roses you lifted to your lips ... lucky roses!
Henri Verdoux (Charles Chaplin) says this to Marie Grosnay (Isobel Elsom) as he tries to seduce her in Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
I'd sooner be called a successful crook than a destitute monarch.
King Shadov (Charles Chaplin) in A King in New York (1957)
[Talkies] are spoiling the oldest art in the world — the art of pantomime. They are ruining the great beauty of silence.
From an interview with Gladys Hall in Motion Picture Magazine, May 1929: “They [talkies] are spoiling the oldest art in the world — the art of pantomime. They are ruining the great beauty of silence. They are defeating the meaning of the screen, the appeal that has created the star system, the fan system, the vast popularity of the whole — the appeal of beauty. It’s beauty that matters in pictures — nothing else.”
The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting.
From My Autobiograpy: “The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting. I do not mean it in a derogatory sense. Often I have heard an actor say: ‘How I’d love to play that part,’ meaning he would love himself in the part. This may be egocentric; but the great actor is mainly preoccupied with his own virtuosity […] Just a fervent love of the theatre is not sufficient; there must also be a fervent love of and belief in oneself.”
I have yet to know a poor man who has nostalgia for poverty.
From My Autobiography: “I have yet to know a poor man who has nostalgia for poverty, or who finds freedom in it …
I found poverty neither attractive nor edifying. It taught me nothing but a distortion of values, an over-rating of the virtues and graces of the rich and the so-called better classes.”
Let's call them years of a friendly misalliance.
King Shadov (Charles Chaplin) to his estranged wife, Queen Irene (Maxine Audley), on the state of their broken marriage in A King in New York (1957)
Life and death are too resolute, too implacable to be accidental.
From “My Autobiography”: “I once saw on a tombstone in the South of France a photograph of a smiling young girl of fourteen, and engraved below, one word: ‘Pourquoi?’ In such bewilderment of grief it is futile to seek an answer. It only leads to false moralizing and torment – yet it does not mean that there is no answer. I cannot believe that our existence is meaningless or accidental, as some scientists would tell us. Life and death are too resolute, too implacable to be accidental.”
Faith is a precursor of all our ideas.
From “My Autobiography”: “As I grow older I am becoming more preoccupied with faith. We live by it more than we think and achieve by it more than we realize. I believe that faith is a precursor of all our ideas. Without faith, there never could have evolved hypothesis, theory, science or mathematics. I believe that faith is an extension of the mind. It is the key that negates the impossible. To deny faith is to refute oneself and the spirit that generates all our creative forces.”
Art was an additional emotion applied to skillful technique.
From “My Autobiography”: “It seems that each time art is discussed I have a different explanation of it. Why not? That evening I said that art was an additional emotion applied to skilful technique. Someone brought the topic round to religion and I confessed I was not a believer. Rachmaninov quickly interposed: ‘But how can you have art without religion?’
I was stumped for a moment. ‘I don’t think we are talking about the same thing,’ I said. ‘My concept of religion is a belief in a dogma — and art is a feeling more than a belief.’
`So is religion,’ he answered. After that I shut up.”
I've arrived at the age where a platonic friendship can be sustained on the highest moral plane.
Limelight (1952): Calvero (Charles Chaplin) to Terry (Claire Bloom) after the aging clown invites the much-younger dancer to recover in his flat
A man's true character comes out when he's drunk.
Calvero (Charles Chaplin) to Terry (Claire Bloom) after she finds him drunk with friends in Limelight (1952)
I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born.
From “My Autobiography”: “I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born. When I confronted Sennett I assumed the character and strutted about, swinging my cane and parading before him. Gags and comedy ideas went racing through my mind.”
I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat [...] Everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large.
From “My Autobiography” : “I had no idea what make-up to put on. I did not like my get-up as the press reporter. However, on the way to the wardrobe I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. I wanted everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large. I was undecided whether to look old or young, but remembering Sennett had expected me to be a much older man, I added a small moustache, which, I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression.”