From Publishers Weekly
Along with his 11 novels, the London-based Louvish writes biographies of cinematic comedians (Laurel and Hardy, W.C. Fields, Mae West, the Marx Brothers). Amid the many books about Chaplin published since the 1920s, Louvish offers fresh insights as he focuses on the famed, iconic cane-twirling Tramp character. He documents Chaplin's costuming, the development and evolution of the Tramp through the earliest films, plus departures to experiment with other characters. The book opens with the 1914 Keystone comedies and films Chaplin directed for Essanay, followed by Mutual titles and his creative expansion at First National, where he moved from shorts to features. The book often parallels film plots with similar situations in Chaplin's life, such as the 1919 death of his first child (who lived only three days). That event galvanized him into action, and he immediately began auditioning babies for his first feature, The Kid
(1921). Louvish writes with an authoritative, nonacademic clarity, and his remarkable research benefits both from the vast collection at the Chaplin Research Centre in Bologna, Italy, and a close study of recent film restorations, seeing the films as they were seen and known in their first releases. Interweaving reviews, interviews and early screenplay drafts, Louvish unveils an impressive, prismatic portrait of Hollywood's majestic jester. (Oct. 13)
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"The Tramp's Odyssey is sharp, fast, full of unexpected detail, and impressively succeeds in demystifying Chaplin while leaving the Tramp's mechanistic mystique largely intact."
"A handsome and absorbing book....Louvish's tone is that of the dissecting surgeon overlaid with affection."
"Louvish's skillful and stimulating descriptions of old films will rekindle a desire to watch them again or discover them anew. But the real excellence of this book is in deepening our understanding of how Chaplin nurtured his comic creation and how it, in turn, nurtured him."
"This is not a volume for the casual film fan seeking laughs or gossip, but for the student of cinema who wishes to truly understand Chaplin's body of work. It is masterfully thorough."
"This is more than just the mere story of an early film actor, it is an epic journey exploring the roots of the 20th century comedy and its broad global appeal."--TusconCitizen.com