Comrade Charlie Chaplin

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‘Remembering the FBI’s strange obsession and constant surveillance of Charlie Chaplin.  J. Edgar Hoover was obsessed with Chaplin, but that didn’t stop Chaplin from voicing his political beliefs.’

http://vijayprashad.org/comrade-charlie-chaplin

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‘It was Chaplin’s popularity and his message that disturbed the FBI. ‘There are men and women in far corners of the world who never have heard of Jesus Christ; yet they know and love Charlie Chaplin’, noted an article that an FBI agent clipped and highlighted in Chaplin’s file. Chaplin’s plainly depicted criticism of capitalism did not fail to impress the world’s peoples nor disturb the FBI. ‘I don’t want the old rugged individualism,’ Chaplin said in November 1942, ‘rugged for the few and ragged for the many.’

 

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‘What drew Chaplin directly into the orbit of institutional left-wing politics was the rise of fascism. He was greatly troubled by the Nazi sweep across Europe. Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator (1940) was his satire of fascism – a film that should be watched by all in our times.’

 

‘The great limitation in his films is the depiction of women. They are always damsels in distress or rich women who are desired by poor men. There are few ‘women of dignity’, women who – at that time – were in pitched battles for their own rights. In fact, many silent films in both the UK and the US disparaged the Suffragette movement of their time.’

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