Altitude Film Sales releases a first look image for Chasing Chaplin. The Showtime documentary explores the life and times of English entertainer Charlie Chaplin, who became a Hollywood icon for his comedic acting and innovative filmmaking. Chaplin passed away on Christmas Day 1977 at the age of 88, and April 16 marks the 130th anniversary of his birth.
Born and raised in London, Chaplin overcame a difficult childhood to become one of the world’s biggest stars, large in part to his recurring character named “The Tramp.” After honing his performance skills as a child, Chaplin evolved into a short film actor in collaboration with Mack Sennett’s Keystone Studios. Throughout the 1910s, he also made films for Essanay Film Manufacturing Company and Mutual Film Corporation before establishing his own production company, First National. By the 1920s, Chaplin began directing his own films and distributing them through United Artists. Decades later, films like The Gold Rush and City Lights are revered for Chaplin’s collective talent as an actor and filmmaker. By 1940, Chaplin release his first “talkie,” The Great Dictator, a satire of European leaders that preceded the United States’ involvement in World War II. Throughout his career, Chaplin won three Academy Awards and directed his last film in 1967 - A Countess from Hong Kong starring Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando.
Per Variety, Altitude Film Sales has teased the upcoming documentary Chasing Chaplin by releasing a first look image. The visual shows a young Chaplin looking directly at the camera, though the image has previously been widely circulated online over the years. However, Chasing Chaplin is purely unique, as the filmmakers received an official blessing from the Chaplin family, allowing them access to various types of media, along with access to various Chaplin-related locations, such as the Switzerland museum Chaplin’s World by Grévin, where the celebrated filmmaker participated in a four-day Life magazine interview in 1966. Directed by Peter Middleton and James Spinney, Chasing Chaplin will reportedly recreate the interview and tell the subject’s life story through his own words. Check out Chasing Chaplin's official image below.
Chasing Chaplin has been described as the “definitive” documentary about the famous subject. In 1992, Richard Attenborough released the biopic Chaplin, which was based on Chaplin’s own 1964 book My Autobiography, along with David Robinson’s 1985 book Chaplin: His Life and Art. In Attenborough’s film, Robert Downey Jr. stars as Chaplin, and received an Oscar nomination for his performance.
When discussing the personal life of a famous figure like Chaplin, the facts often get confused with myths. Recently, this concept has been examined by Karina Longworth in her popular film history podcast "You Must Remember This." And while streaming access to Chaplin’s films allow people to easily revisit classics, or experience them for the first time, the backstories are what bring the films to life even more. The filmmakers behind Chasing Chaplin appear to have gained access to valuable documents, and will hopefully provide a thorough portrait of the artistic subject as a young man.