(Sir) Charles (Spencer) Chaplin Colin L. Westerbeck, Jr. - Essay

Colin L. Westerbeck, Jr.

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

At their funniest [Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), and A King in New York (1957)] hark back to the sort of antics in Charlie's early work. The brightest moment in any of them is a mime recital in Limelight at which Charlie's accompanist is Buster Keaton! Yet even in Limelight there is a pall hanging over the most comically intended moments….

[At] the mime recital in Limelight, we have the uncomfortable feeling Charlie is putting his whole reputation as a laugh-getter on the line. This is the effect of preceding scenes where Calvero plays to an empty house in his nightmare and is hooted off the stage in reality. At the recital it's as if we're...

(The entire section is 631 words.)