(Sir) Charles (Spencer) Chaplin Barnet G. Braver-Mann - Essay

Barnet G. Braver-Mann

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The] grotesque figure we call "Charlie" has carried into cinema one of the oldest and most characteristic traditions of pure theatre, that of the Commedia dell'Arte. Chaplin is in direct line from the mimes of Roman comedy, the players of the Italian Commedia dell'Arte of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the English pantomime of the eighteenth century…. Like [the] players of other times Chaplin has built certain elementary frailties and foibles of human nature into the framework of a conventional figure known as Charlie, whose shabby costume furnishes the needed mask. (p. 23)

The influence of tradition appears most strongly in the highly individual way in which he makes...

(The entire section is 667 words.)