- Hardcover: 338 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (April 27, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442278080
- ISBN-13: 978-1442278080
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,089,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Charlie Chaplin's Red Letter Days: At Work with the Comic Genius
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[T]his compilation of articles, republished exactly as they appeared in the English movie-fan magazine Red Letter in 1916, is of significance for students of Charlie Chaplin and the history of film. Goodwins, a member of Chaplin’s acting troupe, gives a weekly account of the screen’s first superstar. His praise can be fawning, but his account makes Chaplin’s genius undeniable as the comic brings a deft comic twist to commonplace situations while also filling the roles of writer, director, editor, set designer, and prop master. Chaplin’s artistic development is chronicled as he moves from mere slapstick to romance and even drama tinged with social criticism, with his Little Tramp character taking on upper-class villains. For context and a more dispassionate perspective, editors’ notes are sprinkled throughout. The only real criticism here, offered by the editors, is that Chaplin rarely gave credit to others for providing him with ideas. Despite Goodwins’s lack of objectivity, his look at the mechanics and techniques of silent filmmaking is informed and informative.... [H]is access makes the book enjoyably breezy and personal. (Publishers Weekly)
Dan Kamin’s annotations throughout the book are crucially important and set each diary-like entry into a larger context.... The text is accompanied by rare illustrations and some additional articles published around the same time as Goodwins’ stories. I consider this a must for every Chaplin buff. (Leonard Maltin)
Dan Kamin's terrific new book [is] called Charlie Chaplin's Red Letter Days. [I]t reproduces, for the very first time, Fred Goodwins' first-hand accounts of day-to-day life at the Chaplin studio during the Mutual period (& the end of the Essanays). These accounts originally appeared in Red Letter, a British magazine, in 1916, and have been unseen for nearly a century until film historian, and the book's editor, David James, discovered the magazines at the British Library in 2013.... It is a wonderful first-hand account of this period of Chaplin's career that we haven't seen any where else. Goodwins' text is accompanied by helpful annotations and commentary by Chaplin expert Dan Kamin.... There are some wonderful behind-the-scenes stories about not only the movies but the people, including Edna Purviance learning Cockney rhyming slang, Eric Campbell's preference for things that are small, and Charlie's concern when his beloved pet goat, Billy, gets injured. The book is [is] ... well worth it. (Discovering Chaplin)
About the Author
Fred Goodwins (1891–1923) was a former New York Times London correspondent who became an actor, writer, and director during the silent film era.
David James is a film historian and senior lecturer in film and media studies at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom.
Dan Kamin created the physical comedy sequences for Chaplin and Benny and Joon and trained Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp for their acclaimed performances. He is the author of The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin (Scarecrow Press, 2008).