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Charlie Chaplin, in the Lens of History

Chaplin appears in the film <em>The Circus</em>, 1928.
Getty Images
Chaplin appears in the film The Circus, 1928.

Richard Schickel talks about the collection of essays he has edited, The Essential Chaplin. Greats such as Winston Churchill, Graham Greene, James Agee and Alistair Cooke weigh in on the legendary film actor and director.

Schickel argues that Chaplin was the first American celebrity. He also notes that commentary on Chaplin in film's dawning era "was a necessary step on the movies' road to respectability, to its recognition as a legitimate art form with its own grammar and narrative tropes."

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