The appearance of Charlie Chaplin in Hollywood transformed the cinematography into art, and contributed to development of the comedy genre. Chaplin changed the culture as he had brought innovations into the art of the motion pictures. He has become an eternal image who lives in Hollywood and whose star cannot fade. The man started his acting career during one the hardest periods in history and made people laugh at the political issues and strict dictators. The image of a kind, funny vagabond was the unique combination of tragic, dramatic elements with sarcastic, ridiculous and amusing features. The character of the Tramp has turned him into one of 100 most famous actors of America. It is necessary to admit that Charlie Chaplin’s star seems to be still bright. Although he was politically persecuted and was not recognized at the beginning of his career, the actor reflected the culture and history of that time.
To start from, the appearance of Charlie Chaplin in the industry of film making was a certain revolution in apprehension and recognition of the art of movies that had been developed before Chaplin in the world. Unfortunately, only now people have revised the influence and contribution of the man into this sphere. It should be stated that prior to his impact movie had not been considered to be a part of culture being just a certain kind of entertainment. Moreover, he brought in the elements of Victorian epoch into the cinematography as his career started at that period.
His stage character was the reflection of all his life. Through the Tramp, the actor showed and illustrated all the calamities of the XX century. It is necessary to mention that Charlie himself experienced a lot: he was poor, jobless, slept just on the street and in the trench, and was an eternal image of an unlucky wretch looking for gold. Consequently, the funny and tragic character he had created significantly changed the cinematography Thus, love of thousands of people in America and Europe directed towards him was great in spite of the political persecutions he had to endure.
Furthermore, the man was not only a gifted actor and script writer but also a composer, producer and a person who took active part in the development of the makeup and costumes for his films. It was the first time in the cinema history when an actor was the main creator of the entire picture. Many Hollywood activists and directors have tried to repeat that practice; however, it has not been successful.
Actually, Charlie Chaplin has transformed Hollywood from the small destructed poor place into the biggest industry of dreams in the world, which has gained milliards of profit. This is due to the fact that the unique author was the first who created quite uncertain character of the motion picture where the funny, sarcastic situations appeared on the background of the real tragedy of the personality in the world between the two Wars. His possibility to provoke loud laughter and sincere tears made him not only famous and rich but also revolutionized the movie into part of art and culture. The man created a new form of comedy with deep dramatic content and special musical compositions. “Chaplin emphasized the importance of film as a means for raising public awareness of art”.
As it has been stated, the Chaplin’s contribution to the performing arts enriched the culture of that period in general and was closely connected with his biographical experience. He played a clown in the circus, and changed several theatrical troops, and tried many styles of acting. Actually, that background helped him not only to create a perfect stage character but also fill up the culture of the US with different innovative elements created as a result of mixture of different styles. America in the XX century was an implementation of all the Charlie’s dreams as it was a country for the development of a new form of culture.
Chaplin was a symbolical mirror of the art and history of that period. An outcast of the society, the Tramp, symbolized the resistance to the mass culture in the USA. The hard life of jobless and poor people was the basis of the image. In fact, Charlie Chaplin combined the features of a gentlemen and the tramp in the character. It was a general characteristic of the order after the First World War connected with certain decay of the cultural development when some aspects of art were destructed by the post war problems. The mass culture had the character of Chaplin’s image – the gentleman and the hobo’s features.
Additionally, the detailed portrayal of the character became important in Hollywood, when a small and seemingly insignificant element could reveal the whole image and figure. Moreover, the pantomime turned out to be a significant cultural innovation not only in the sphere of cinematography but in all fields of art. It helped Charlie to create new phenomena in culture. For example, he made up a comic twin – a character who represents a real political personality. To illustrate, the famous Tramp made fun of Hitler and was a perfect satirical image of the leader. It was the first time in the history of genre, and this practice was popularized in all the spheres of performing arts.
The extension of the comedy genre became an essential confirmation of Charlie Chaplin’s contribution to the culture. It was the first time in the history of cinematography when a satirical comic plot was developed on the background of deep tragic and moral issues applying some historic motives. Moreover, the character of the Tramp was a key image of the culture in the XX century, and it was reflected in all the genres of theatre. However, Kevin J. Hayes confirmed that only fifty years in the cinema helped to reveal the personality of Charlie Chaplin and his overall contribution to the history of motion.
The movie art can be divided into two stages – before and after Charlie Chaplin. The present viewers can perfectly understand that the Chaplin’s influence differentiated the silent movie from the other types. Thus, the silent pictures have become a certain unique type of art, which is quite interesting for the contemporary spectators. Chaplin was certain that “the color tended to diminish screen illusion rather than to heighten it, as colors are the painter’s resources, the cinema depended on light and shadow”. It makes the critics and the cinema workers be sure about the significance of the actor’s contribution to the world culture.
It has already been highlighted that Charlie Chaplin and his pictures were a reflection of political, socio-economical and global affairs in the world. Of course, his activity concerned only cinematography, but he showed an interrelation of culture and history. The man liked to make fun of the biggest leaders of the global world relations. It was quite easy because of his personal ideas and attitudes towards the most important leading figures in the post war period and before the Second World War. He hated dictator’s type of ruling and, as a consequence, created a ridiculous hero of a twin character. At the same time, people were happy to observe that in spite of hard conditions of their life, there was some entertainment for them. Sadly, his democratic and humanistic ideas, reflected in the movies made the American authority intend to deport him out from the country. Thus, the social-democratic sympathy made Charlie Chaplin a victim of the McCarthyism policy. That scheme was initiated with the purpose to find and isolate the enemies of American ideas and people supporting the communistic policy. As a result, the man was accused of being a communist and had to leave the US. Later, Charlie released the movie A King in New York where he made fun of the McCarthyism policy and the American culture in general.
Certainly, his works were an unintentional reflection of all the political events in the USA. He was perfectly aware about the calamities and problems of people at that time. The character of the Tramp was formed as a result of life in the poorest city blocks. The social and class inequality formed and developed the consciousness of a young actor together with his political and esthetic views. Thus, Charlie Chaplin’s creative work was closely interrelated with the time period and culture style of the XX century. He made everything for the country that rejected him because of some political issues that he did not intend to expose. Chaplin only wanted to show a general image of a person living in the post war period, and his intentions were quite successful in Europe having negative reflections in the American government. The problem was that the actor made fun of the most acute issues of social and political spheres. The combination of cruel truth and sarcastic episodes directed the authority against his talented activity. Nevertheless, Chaplin’s movies can serve as an object of investigation and pure reflection of the society, views and understanding of world affairs. The pictures can help to examine the social relations and the order of that period through the exaggerated images. For example, one should mention his grotesque character of a policeman who tried to be honest but, in the end, helped a poor, hungry woman to steal. This episode illustrated desperate and helpless situation of people, though the general impression from the idea was quite funny and sarcastic. Furthermore, his works contain a satire of the political order in the world. The hero of The Great Dictator has maniacal behavior because Charlie considered that the absolute power means the abuse of the possibilities. To sum up, Charlie Chaplin’s image for the contemporary viewers is a mixture of the historic events, and his behavior and stage characters were the result of social-political relationships in the world and America.
To conclude, the appearance of Charlie Chaplin’s star in Hollywood transformed the cinematography into one of the most profitable industries in the USA. His character seems to be still alive and topical. He was a reflection of the XX century events and political relations. The famous actor showed the status of people after the World War I and before the World War II. Although he suffered as a result of political persecutions and groundless accusations, he made people laugh and cry feeling happy during one of the most complicated periods in the world history. The man enriched the cultural achievements by new approaches. For instance, he has created methods of the character development which are still used in the sphere of cinema. His perfect combination of the Tramp and a gentleman illustrates a political, social and cultural order in the XX century.