Frankly, my favorite biography of Charlie Chaplin. It spends a lot of time on his childhood in London, his fractured family life, and the impact it had on his life’s work. A wonderful insight into both the man & the clown. Highly recommended among biographies.
Editorial Reviews of Chaplin: His Life and Art courtesy of Amazon.com
Of the many books about Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), among them the Tramp’s own charming but evasive 1964 autobiography, this magisterial volume does by far the best job of detailing and analyzing his genius as a filmmaker. Chaplin’s widow allowed David Robinson to examine their personal archives in Switzerland, and he makes good use of this access in his meticulous descriptions of the movies that created the legend, including City Lights and Modern Times. Robinson is less interested in Chaplin’s tumultuous personal life, skating rather lightly over the lawsuits and scandals that plagued his later years in the United States. No matter: Chaplin lovers will find their understanding of his films enhanced; those unfamiliar with his artistry will learn why an actor-director whose greatest work was done before 1940 remains a key figure in the history of motion pictures.
I rate it 4 clowns on a 5-clown scale.