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News . Feature Stories . Cinematheque Features Five Greatest Chaplin Comedies

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April 17, 2011

Cinematheque Features Five Greatest Chaplin Comedies

Charlie Chaplin's greatest comedy features will come to the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque in spring 2011.

Cinematheque Features Five Greatest Chaplin Comedies

Five of the greatest feature-length comedies starring and directed by Charlie Chaplin are coming to the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque between April 29 and June 4, 2011. All five are among the most famous and celebrated movies of all time. All will be shown in new 35mm film prints.

The five movies are City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), and Limelight (1952). The first is a silent film made during the sound era, the second is a silent film with a “talkie” sequence that introduced Chaplin’s voice for the first time, and the last three are all sound films. All have music composed by Chaplin. The films conclude a major Chaplin retrospective that began at the Cinematheque in March with the writer/director/star’s silent comedies.

City Lights and Modern Times feature Chaplin as his beloved “tramp” character. In The Great Dictator, Chaplin plays two parts: megalomaniacal tyrant Adenoid Hynkel and a poor Jewish barber not unlike his “Little Tramp.” Monsieur Verdoux finds Chaplin a bluebeard who murders a string of wives. In Limelight he is a once-famous, now washed-up, British music hall entertainer.

A sixth Chaplin comedy feature, A King in New York (1957), will show on May 27 and 28. This little known and rarely shown movie was made when Chaplin was exiled from the United States during the McCarthy era. It wasn’t released in America until 1973. Chaplin plays a foreign king who takes refuge in New York City (re-created in London) after a revolution drives him from his own country. Though not regarded as one of Chaplin’s greatest movies, it was the last film in which he starred, and is a fascinating satire of 1950s American mores and politics.

Admission to Cinematheque films is $9, Cinematheque members and Cleveland Institute of Art students & staff $6. All show in the Aitken Auditorium of the Cleveland Institute of Art, 11141 East Boulevard in University Circle, cia.edu/cinematheque. There is free parking for filmgoers in the adjacent Institute of Art lot, located north of the building off of East Blvd. For further information, screeners, or images, call 216.421.7450.

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