If you took a photograph of the "Little Tramp" to almost any corner of the world touched by Western culture chances are someone would recognize it. That's a powerful statement given that the character hasn't appeared in a film for over seventy years. Greatness persists. And so it is with Charlie Chaplin, born on this date in London in 1889.
In his 88 years, he graced the world of entertainment as a performer, director, producer, businessman, and composer. His concern for everyday people and their often difficult lives was a common theme in virtually all his films as well as his private life. Such humanitarian sympathies led him to ally with well-known leftist in the U.S. and eventually leave the country in the early 1950s'. Through it all, his endearing, bumbling, yet refined, tramp brought laughter and awareness to millions.
Take some time today to visit Chaplin's official site. The biography page is especially useful, providing information about nine "masterpiece features" and a complete filmography.
Below, watch Chaplin at his best - with a variation of the "Tramp" - portraying Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomainia, as he contemplates ruling the world. Any resemblance between Adenoid Hynkel and Adolph Hilter is completely intentional. If you have not watched The Great Dictator (1940), add it to your queue today. You'll love it. The film is often cites as the finest example of the use of ridicule in film in the twentieth century.