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Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey Hardcover – October 13, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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Review

"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."
--New Statesman
 
"A handsome and absorbing book....Louvish's tone is that of the dissecting surgeon overlaid with affection."
--The Times
 
"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."
--Daily Express
 
"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."
--Sunday Telegraph
 
"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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312581696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312581695
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,581,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barry Sharpe on October 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is important that one realizes this book is not a biography of Charlie Chaplin. It is, rather, an analysis of and a complete filmography of Chalin's ubiquitous Tramp character. Simon Louvish gives us the necessary details of Charlie's life to flesh out the development of his predominant character from the earliest beginnings on Mack Sennett's Keystone backlot to his final film appearance.
This is a very detailed, very analytical book, well documented with notes, bibliography and source material. One will not find a more thorough look at this iconic character. But be forewarned: it ain't a joke book, nor is it designed to merely entertain via humorous anecdote. It is a thoughtful, well written look at the genesis of genius.
Another reviewer has said the book is boring. Nonsense. It is crammed with detail that may, at times, challenge a reader looking for gossipy tales of Charlie's legendary prowess with the ladies or his legal tangles or other biographical details Mr. Louvish doesn't cover extensively.
What Simon Louvish does better than most is to take you inside the studios, detail the technological advances and follow the development of the Tramp, as he relates to the characters around him and to society at large. In other words, this is a serious look at the "Little Fellow" and may not be exhilarating enough to small minded persons who just want to be entertained.
This is my fourth Simon Louvish book. You'll find my reviews of his others in these pages. Sufficient to say I find him a credible writer who knows how to write biography. This one, however, is just a bit different.
I loved it. I hope you will, too. I'm looking forward to picking up more of his books.
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Format: Paperback
I have a lot of books on Chaplin, probably over 100. I've read most of them (except those in French, Danish, Russian, etc). I picked up this book by Mr. Louvish after letting it sit on my shelf for a year, and now I can not put it down. He has a wonderful style of writing, a sharp mind and thought-provoking analysis of Chaplin and his films... different than other books in my collection. I'm halfway through and plan to finish it in the next few days. I highly recommend this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent...
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Format: Hardcover
Dry, dry, dry: that is not the wit for which Mr. Chaplin is known. An amazingly interesting life gets a dry-as-toast treatment in this unfortunate telling of Chaplin's story. 2 stars are for The Tramp himself, for living the life that should have been given a much better treatment.
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