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Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey [Paperback]

Simon Louvish
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 May 2010

An Everyman who expressed the defiant spirit of freedom, Charlie Chaplin was first lauded and later reviled in the America that made him Hollywood's richest man. He was a figure of multiple paradoxes, and many studies have sought to unveil 'the man behind the mask.'

Louvish charts the tale of the Tramp himself through his films - from the early Mack Sennett shorts through the major features (The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator et al.) He weighs the relationship between the Tramp, his creator, and his world-wide fans, and in doing so retrieves Chaplin as the iconic London street-kid who carried the 'surreal' antics of early BritishMusic Hall triumphantly onto the Hollywood screen. Louvish also looks anew at Chaplin's and the Tramp's social and political ideas - the challenge to fascism, defiance of the McCarthyite witch-hunts, eventual 'exile', and last mature disguises as the serial-killer Monsieur Verdoux and the dying English clown Calvero in Limelight.

This book is an epic journey, summing up the roots of Comedy and its appeal to audiences everywhere, who revelled in the clown's raw energy, his ceaseless struggle against adversity, and his capacity to represent our own fears, foibles, dreams, inner demons and hopes.


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Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey + The Search for Charlie Chaplin + My Autobiography (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (6 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057123769X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571237692
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Louvish, born Glasgow, Scotland, in 1947, author, film maker, lecturer in film at London Film School. I work in both fiction and non-fiction, having published more than ten fiction novels and seven and a half books of movie biography, mainly on Hollywood's golden-age comedians. I have now returned full-time to the fiction field, and am currently involved in re-printing the entire BLOK SAGA, to include the four books already published and two unpublished volumes, BLOK 5: THE FUNDAMENTAL BLOK and BLOK 6: THE CHINESE SMILE. These will appear under the imprint of Margaret Macdonald Books, which is my present personal imprint and will include in due course the hard-copy issue of the new paperback BLOK SAGA and e-book publications. THE BLOK SAGA Special Edition begins with the first two volumes in the series, THE THERAPY OF AVRAM BLOK and CITY OF BLOK, which are now available on Amazon vended by my own merchant label "louvishbooks." These books were first published in 1985 and 1988 and received a wash of fine reviews, but have been out of print for some time. The Saga began by dealing specifically with the madness of the modern Middle East and Avram Blok's wanderings in the labyrinth of Israel-Palestine and in Europe and America of the 1970's and `80's but morphs in the later volumes to encompass China and a wide historical sweep. So it goes. Hoping it finds a new generation of readers in the world of global turmoil, crisis and collapsing certainties, who can foresee more madness yet to come...

Product Description

Book Description

Simon Louvish's new book looks afresh at the 'mask behind the man.'

About the Author

Simon Louvish is a biographer of comedians, and author of satirical and outrageous fiction, a part-time film teacher at the London Film School, and a film screenwriter. He is married and lives in Fulham, London.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from Mr Louvish 4 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is another film related boigraphy from Simon Louvish and once again
he doesn't disappoint. This time he writes extensively about Charlie Chaplin-
not easy, since there have been a number of books already written. What I especially
like about this is the constant juxtaposing of the real CC with the persona created on
screen, and especially Charlie's tramp!
Notes are well organised and helpful, and encouraged me to seek out other books.
I am not sure what SL has in the pipeline, but I will be looking for it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Read 5 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a geeky Chaplin fan who has read a few Chaplin biographies over the years, I would recommend this book as comprising a detailed analysis of Chaplin's work and a decent overview of his personal life. Well researched book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin's Tramp Profiled 4 Oct 2012
By Barry Sharpe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is important that one realizes this book is not a biography of Charlie Chaplin. It is, rather, an analysis of and a complete filmography of Chalin's ubiquitous Tramp character. Simon Louvish gives us the necessary details of Charlie's life to flesh out the development of his predominant character from the earliest beginnings on Mack Sennett's Keystone backlot to his final film appearance.
This is a very detailed, very analytical book, well documented with notes, bibliography and source material. One will not find a more thorough look at this iconic character. But be forewarned: it ain't a joke book, nor is it designed to merely entertain via humorous anecdote. It is a thoughtful, well written look at the genesis of genius.
Another reviewer has said the book is boring. Nonsense. It is crammed with detail that may, at times, challenge a reader looking for gossipy tales of Charlie's legendary prowess with the ladies or his legal tangles or other biographical details Mr. Louvish doesn't cover extensively.
What Simon Louvish does better than most is to take you inside the studios, detail the technological advances and follow the development of the Tramp, as he relates to the characters around him and to society at large. In other words, this is a serious look at the "Little Fellow" and may not be exhilarating enough to small minded persons who just want to be entertained.
This is my fourth Simon Louvish book. You'll find my reviews of his others in these pages. Sufficient to say I find him a credible writer who knows how to write biography. This one, however, is just a bit different.
I loved it. I hope you will, too. I'm looking forward to picking up more of his books.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent In-depth Look at Chaplin and The Little Fellow 22 May 2014
By Gerry Mandel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have a lot of books on Chaplin, probably over 100. I've read most of them (except those in French, Danish, Russian, etc). I picked up this book by Mr. Louvish after letting it sit on my shelf for a year, and now I can not put it down. He has a wonderful style of writing, a sharp mind and thought-provoking analysis of Chaplin and his films... different than other books in my collection. I'm halfway through and plan to finish it in the next few days. I highly recommend this.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject/ boring book 3 Oct 2010
By Leto Jane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Dry, dry, dry: that is not the wit for which Mr. Chaplin is known. An amazingly interesting life gets a dry-as-toast treatment in this unfortunate telling of Chaplin's story. 2 stars are for The Tramp himself, for living the life that should have been given a much better treatment.
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