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Brilliance in a bowler hat - Delving into the archives of slapstick genius

Brilliance in a bowler hat

Delving into the archives of slapstick genius


The Charlie Chaplin Archives

US$ 200
Edition: English
Availability: In Stock
Within a year of arriving in Hollywood in 1914, British-born Charlie Chaplin had become the slapstick king of America. By the end of his second year on the silver screen, Chaplin's fame had spread worldwide. He was the first international film star and rapidly one of the richest men in the world, with a million dollar contract, his own studio and his stock company of close collaborators. From Alaska to Zimbabwe, the bowler hat, cane, baggy trousers and outsized shoes of the Tramp became, and remains, an instantly recognizable silhouette.

With unrestricted access to the Chaplin archives, TASCHEN presents the ultimate book on the making of every one of his films. With 900 images, including stills, memos, storyboards and on-set photos, as well as interviews with Chaplin and his closest collaborators, it reveals the process behind the Chaplin genius, from the impromptu invention of early shots to the meticulous retakes and reworking of scenes and gags in his classic movies: The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), and the provocative Hitler parody The Great Dictator (1940).

The book includes:
  • The Chaplin life history in words and pictures
  • 900 images including many previously unseen stills, on-set photos, memos, documents, storyboards, posters, and designs, plus scripts and images for unmade films
  • An oral history, told from the point of view of Chaplin himself, drawing upon his extensive writings, many of which have never been reprinted before.
  • Supplementary interviews with some of his closest collaborators.
  • Material from over 150 books of press clippings in Chaplin's archives, which range from his early days in music halls to his death
  • Chaplin's short films, from Making a Living (1914) to The Pilgrim (1923), as well as all of his feature-length movies, from The Kid (1921) to A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)
  • The first print run of 10,000 copies includes a precious 12 frame strip from City Lights (1931), cut from a 35 mm print in Chaplin’s archives.

Documents from the Chaplin Archives Property and Copyright of Roy Export Company Establishment, scanned by Cineteca di Bologna
  • “The book of the year is The Charlie Chaplin Archives by Paul Duncan. As is befitting its subject, this huge volume examines the career of the one filmmaker many consider the greatest ever. Drawn from the Chaplin archives and featuring much new material, this remarkable book reveals the process behind Chaplin’s cinematic genius through its 900 images which include stills, memos, storyboards and on-set photos, as well as images for unmade films, press clippings which span the length of Chaplin’s long career, and interviews with the Little Tramp’s closest collaborators. Alltogether, it’s an impressive coffee-table type book which could almost double as coffee table.”

  • “A Day’s Pleasure… What really raises the bar in this publication is the oral-history section, which has been pulled together from extensive notes and essays written by Chaplin himself. The reader is so close to the silent star as to practically feel the bristles of his signature moustache.”

    — Vanity Fair, London
  • “The most un-put-downable movie book of the season is also the most un-pick-uppable one… It’s an apt tribute to the filmmaker, whose artistry transcends the cinema and spans world-historical dimensions… a revelation of Chaplin’s creative process, even to the furious core of energy, passion, lust, and sheer will that fueled it…”

  • “…560 gorgeous pages crammed with quotes, archive imagery, classic film stills and snippets of Chaplinalia…All in all this a stunning book, and could easily be the centrepiece of any Chaplin fan’s collection of memorabilia…”

  • “…Boasting a staggering breadth of storyboards, on-set photos and letters, this hefty visual and oral history traces Chaplin’s pursuit of beauty and how he captured it film by film.”

  • “…an astounding piece of work, even by TASCHEN’s lofty standards.”

    — Empire Magazine, London
  • “…a treasure trove of valuable Chaplin information not only for fans of the silent film star but also of the cinema.”

    — Lomography, Manilla
  • “…browsing The Charlie Chaplin Archives is more akin to wondering around a museum than reading a biography. It is an exercise in stargazing and fan worship taken to the extremes, with virtually every aspect of Chaplin’s career laid out to be picked over… Chaplin refused to describe his life story as a rags-to-riches tale. This covetable book might claim that title though, alchemically spinning the scraps of Chaplin ‘s working life into publishing gold.”

    — Sight & Sound, London
  • “…a stunning volume complete with 900 illuminating images, primary and supplemental interviews, and an oral history by the comic actor himself.”

    — The Washington Times, Washington DC
  • “…this handsome book conveys a true sense of a driven man and the way he shaped a nascent industry of the modern age.”

    — South China Morning Post, Hong Kong