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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for Chaplin fans
I imagined that this book would be a very hefty tome being by Peter Ackroyd, but it is a fairly slim volume. However that doesn't mean that it isn't an excellent little book. It is a fairly comprehensive study of the life, films and music hall days of Charlie Chaplin. It has much to say about his chaotic love life and his often difficult personality. Very well written. I...
Published 11 months ago by V. Denham

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather skimpy account of a great life...
This is an amiable enough survey of Chaplin's life story, but it is hard to see why an author of Ackroyd's stature undertook this rather insubstantial commission. This book doesn't seem to add any new insight into the Chaplin phenomenon, and doesn't provide much additional context about his legacy as a comedic genius, film-maker, and cultural icon. Several periods in...
Published 4 months ago by James Hayes


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for Chaplin fans, 31 May 2014
By 
V. Denham "Ice Queen" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charlie Chaplin (Hardcover)
I imagined that this book would be a very hefty tome being by Peter Ackroyd, but it is a fairly slim volume. However that doesn't mean that it isn't an excellent little book. It is a fairly comprehensive study of the life, films and music hall days of Charlie Chaplin. It has much to say about his chaotic love life and his often difficult personality. Very well written. I enjoyed it very much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather skimpy account of a great life..., 19 Dec. 2014
By 
James Hayes "JM Hayes" (Herts., UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charlie Chaplin (Hardcover)
This is an amiable enough survey of Chaplin's life story, but it is hard to see why an author of Ackroyd's stature undertook this rather insubstantial commission. This book doesn't seem to add any new insight into the Chaplin phenomenon, and doesn't provide much additional context about his legacy as a comedic genius, film-maker, and cultural icon. Several periods in Chaplin's life appear skipped over, or dealt with very briefly, and I agree with another reviewer that, given the nature of the subject matter, Ackroyd's prose style is not at its most scintillating. This is disappointing given Ackroyd's estimable track-record - I couldn't help wondering, why didn't he pull all the stops out and produce a the thumping great multi-volume biography that his subject here deserves?
I've read other biographic books about Chaplin, and venture to the say that the definitive account of his extraordinary life has actually yet to be written.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin the Londoner, 26 April 2014
This review is from: Charlie Chaplin (Hardcover)
Another of Peter Ackroyd's idiosyncratic lives of Londoners, showing how Chaplin's early life continued to influence and haunt him and his art. Chaplin's terror of poverty, squalor and madness drove him for much of his life, and predisposed him to the half-hearted socialism that caused him to be ostracised in fifties America. Ackroyd reviews each of Chaplin's major films to trace these influences, but this is not an appraisal of his work or his significance in film history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't even get the captions right, 2 Nov. 2014
I must agree with reviewer C.J. Tordoff who called this book a "cut and paste" job. I have almost all the books listed in the bibliography and while reading, often knew exactly which one the information was taken from. Quite frankly, I feel I could have written the book myself! Reviewer Gerry Mandel notes photos with no attribution. Worse, some of these incorrectly identify people and events. For example, Chaplin's signing with Mutual is misidentified as his signing with Keystone. Lillita MacMurray, signing her contract with Chaplin as "Lita Grey" is said to be "Chaplin Marrying Lita Grey, 1924". As unhappy as he was to marry her, would he really have done it in full Tramp get-up? As both those photos are correctly identified in any number of places, this is either a case of poor research, poor editing or both. And no, that is not Edna Purviance with him on page 125, and no, again, the year is not 1918. Anyone who has a decent interest in Chaplin would know that just by looking at the small size of the Tramp's moustache. (BTW, I do not know Mr. Mandel, but you may want to check out his novel, "Shadow and Substance; My Time With Charlie Chaplin". I was actually a bit teary at the end!). While this is not a horrible introduction of Chaplin for those who know little or nothing about him (although it does lean towards his negative side), people may want to check out some of the books Mr. Ackroyd used to research his subject.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CINEMA MEMORY, 24 Jun. 2014
By 
R. M. D. Bennett "Rodney M Bennett" (Lonodn, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charlie Chaplin (Hardcover)
In the the 1950s I ws working in Singapore. Being on shift work I sometimes had weekdays free and sometimes in those afternoons I would go to a local flea-pit cinema that usualy showed just Hollywood second-rank movies. However one day it offered Chaplin's The Kid. At the end I relaised that the cinema was much much fuller than usual for that time - mostly by young Chinese such was Chaplin's appeal.

I found the book a good run though his life though he does not mention that Chaplin apparently thought Mary Pickford 'an undersized bitch.'
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars INFORMATIVE ABOUT CHAPLIN BUT HE REMAINS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND, 6 May 2014
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This review is from: Charlie Chaplin (Hardcover)
Peter Ackroyd has gathered together a large amount of information about Chaplin in this easily-read and comprehensive biography. I particularly liked the accounts he gives of Chaplin's childhood in London and of his rapid rise to fame in silent films in Hollywood. This is a really startling contrast in lifestyles.
It is still difficult to understand Chaplin's behaviour despite considerable efforts to do so by Peter Ackroyd. Why was he so horrible to people he worked with and to family members?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well documented and elegantly written., 27 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Charlie Chaplin (Hardcover)
You get a great inside personal view of Chaplin in all his glory and all his shame. From Chaplins poverty birth and childhood to his apprenticeship on the streets of London to his music hall beginnings and superstar status in Hollywood and personal love life are all examined in magnificent detail. [Serialised in the Daily Mail]. Well researched with a elegant writing style that makes you feel you are at the other side of the camera looking out. Very atmospheric in conveying the feeling of the times. Nothing is held back, 'it's warts and all !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 24 May 2014
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This review is from: Charlie Chaplin (Hardcover)
I bought this for my husband and he has thoroughly enjoyed reading it. He has now passed it on to our son-in-law to enjoy.
Good book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fatal or not so fatal flaw?, 30 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Charlie Chaplin (Hardcover)
An interesting book which left me really disliking Charlie Chaplin. Another example, perhaps, of genius silencing the questions.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save Your Money and Your Time, 3 May 2014
By 
Gerry Mandel (St. Louis MO, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Charlie Chaplin (Hardcover)
There is absolutely nothing new in Ackroyd's book on Chaplin. Since 2014 is the 100th anniversary of The Little Tramp's first appearance on-screen, I can hear the publisher now: "Let's get someone to write another bio on Chaplin, but not take too much time; somebody with decent credentials but no standards." So Ackroyd gets the call. He looks through dozens of published books on the subject, extracts what he thinks works, stitches them together in a decent narrative, and picks up his check. There is no original research in this book. You'd be better off buying a bio by Robinson or Vance or Lynn or Maland etc etc. Ackroyd also has photos of Chaplin in there but no attribution. As I understand it, the Chaplin archives retains control of those, and all photos should carry a "courtesy of Roy Export SSA." If you want to find out what made Chaplin one of the greatest figures of the cinema, take a large detour around Ackroyd's embarrassing efforts.
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Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin by Peter Ackroyd (Hardcover - 3 April 2014)
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