8 Pages


ByRichard Carr

Even in death everyone wanted a piece of Charlie. The obituaries poured in, column inches were unfurled and people generally sought to lay claim to his legacy. Criticized as egocentric, Chaplin had many enemies as he had friends'. It is his politics rather than his art that has concerned us, however, and certainly Chaplin's politics evolved over the gamut of that long life. Clearly, Charlie retained a life-long antipathy for an amorphous 'establishment' – the type of invisible forces that had condemned him to the workhouse or separated him from his mother. All in all, most of the American press paid a good deal more attention to Chaplin's political problems than did that of his homeland. When it came to his eventual fall from grace and exile from the United States, however, Charlie clearly made a rod for his own back. Praising Stalin's purges was a ludicrous position for someone already accused of Bolshevik sympathies to take in wartime America.