Chaplin, the Movies, and Charlie Critical Essays

David Jacobs


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Chaplin, the Movies, and Charlie is attuned to the level of juveniles and young adults because the author shared the writing process with his daughter Alben, who was only seven years old when they first began going to see Chaplin’s films together and was eleven when her father finished writing the book. In his introduction, Jacobs states that Alben was, in a substantial way, his collaborator and that his main intention was to do justice to her insights.

Jacobs’ book is written in simple language, yet it does an admirable job of explaining complex matters, such as the evolution of film comedy and Chaplin’s film persona. Jacobs focuses his attention on Chaplin as an artist, considering him to be an important pioneer in the development of motion pictures as an art form. The author discusses Chaplin’s private life in generalities, not having attempted to delve into personal documents or to conduct extensive interviews. He is enthusiastic about Chaplin’s genius and anxious to present him to young readers in the best possible light. Consequently, Jacobs tends to gloss over some unpleasant incidents in Chaplin’s life, such as his forced marriage to sixteen-year-old Lolita MacMurray in 1924, who was pregnant at the time, or his long exile from the United States from 1952 to 1972 as a suspected communist.

Chaplin, the Movies, and Charlie is not a definitive biography, complete with long quotations and extensive footnotes....

(The entire section is 561 words.)