MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Charles Chaplin
Kirkus Star

MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The potential readership is enormous--old fans, the theatre-memoir addicts, and the simply curious. Chaplin's most vivid recollections are contained in the section on his early years. His boyhood was one of Dickensian poverty. His mother, a beautiful and sensitive woman, defied the squalor that waited for her two sons outside the attic rooms of the late 19th century London. When her mind finally broke under the strain, Chaplin makes it clear that her spirit did not and, together with his brother he made her last years comfortable. Childhood was over on the verge of Chaplin's adolescence and he went on stage. The English music halls were a logical course for Chaplin and his half-brother. The divorced Chaplin parents had been successful there until the father became alcoholic and the mother had lost her voice. Chaplin's high school was the stage and he began mastering the art of pantomime which inevitable brought him to early Hollywood where his well-thought out, practised approach at first confounded the producers of the pratfall and chase comedies. In discussing the philosophy behind his famous tramp character and his film techniques, Chaplin is worth ingering over. Comments on his colleagues as people are almost invariably kind and ourteous; on their performance as actors he is sharp and discriminating. He is reticent about his four marriages and hardly mentions his children. The notorious paternity suit, which Chaplin ties in with Communist witch hunters who were trying to destroy him, is described at length. Both led to his permanent departure for Switzerland. If his, comments on politics are any guide, Chaplin was an emotional and naive victim of the times. Major advertising has already begun. The October Book of the Month Club selection.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1964
Publisher: Simon & Schuster