EDWIN P. HOYT
Sir Charles Chaplin is a unique figure. Perhaps that is why his hfe until recent years was such a compendium of love and hate, romance and tragedy, success and failure. But above all else, Chaplin was always the artist, and it is as the artist that he must be considered. His loves, his pre-occupations, his vainglories are all a part of that portrait.
Had Sir Charles remained in England he might well have ended his career as a prince of the music halls. He was successful in the field in his way, as a very young man. But it took a new country and a new medium to bring him to his best. Chaplin's early trips to America showed him that here was a free-wheeling land that offered him opportunity After his second trip, he grasped the chance to work as a comedian in the Mack Sennett films. Thus began his triumph and his tragedy.
The triumph was his own - the impact of this film genius on the world at large. Within a dozen years his name was known throughout the world, his odd little tramp figure graced the posters of theatres from Torquay to Tokyo. His feature films in the silent pictures era made millions for the producers, and later for Charlie himself.
But in it all were the seeds of tragedy. A jealous America demands of its heroes the kind of homage Chaplin could never give. There is the raison d'être for this book: to tell the story of what happened to Sir Charles Chaplin in the days when he was Charlie, and why it happened.
Many others have written about Sir Charles and his life and times. But none have delved particularly into the relations of Chaplin with America, and the story of his rise and fall in that glittering and fretful land.
This book is more than a biography of a film personality, it is a social study of America.