From Novelty to Art: How Charlie Chaplin Breathed New Life into Cinema


Countless filmmakers have contributed to the growth of cinema, but none have done so quite like Charlie Chaplin.


After getting his start as a vaudeville performer, Charlie Chaplin turned his sights onto filmmaking during the silent era, effectively becoming one of the first “movie stars” in cinematic history. But his contribution to what would become the star system wasn’t the only thing Chaplin did to change the film industry. In fact, in this video essay Darren Foley of Must See Films explores how the London-born director influenced the very fiber of cinema by managing to infuse heart into his iconic form of comedy.


Silent era comedies were full of prat falls, sight gags, and the classic “slipping on a banana peel” schtick. Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, as well as Chaplin built their careers upon this slapstick form of comedy, but where Chaplin differs from his fellow comedians is in the way his brand of comedy affected audiences on a psychological level.


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