Chaplin, the composer

A CENTURY after his Little Tramp character first appeared on screen, Charlie Chaplin is remembered for many things: as the derby-hatted, mustachioed comic symbol of the silent screen; as one of the first true international superstars; as an actor, writer and director who helped elevate film to a respected art form even as he enjoyed enormous popular success.

But it is another, often overlooked aspect of Chaplin’s creative output that many people don’t know: he was the composer of his films’ music.

Chaplin may have been the one filmmaker to hold out the longest against talking pictures, but at the same time he also happened to be one of the earliest filmmakers to embrace sound, as well as to possess an innate understanding of its emotional relationship to film.

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