Photo Essays
1. Exile’s Return
2. Chaplin’s Parents
3. Hannah Chaplin’s Femmes Fatales
4. Playing Dress-Up  In The Land of Make Believe
5. Teenage Girls and Fear of Aging
6. Chaplin’s Three Teenage Wives
7. Mildred Harris
8. Lita Grey
9. Oona O’Neill
10. Chaplin’s Father
11. A Royal Lion
12. Vesta Tilley as Bertie
13. Ella Shields as Bertie
14. Making A Living
15. The Lion Comique’s Son: Dressed Like A Bum
16. Monsieur Verdoux as a Lion Comique
17. Calvero as a Lion Comique
18. The Lion Comique’s Son in the Limelight
19. Charlie as a Child
20. The Kid’s Lucky Break
21. Syd Chaplin
22. A Family Album of Theatrical Drunks
23. Chaplin’s Family Romance
24. Edna Purviance
25. Purviance’s Influence on Chaplin’s Character
26. Essanay
27. Chaplinitis
28. Chaplin’s Predecessors
29. Eye Contact: Audience-Performer Intimacy
30. Chaplin the Auteur
31. Chaplin’s Two Autobiographies
32. Going It Alone
33. The Circus
34. Autobiographical Starvation Scenes From The Gold Rush
35. Autobiographical Madness Scenes in Modern Times
36. Two British Music Hall Traditions and Topical Comedy
37. The Great Dictator
38. Fatal Attraction: Joan Barry
39. Monsieur Verdoux: Guillotine or Hatchet Job?
40. Limelight
Chaplin: A Life In Film
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 The Circus
(Age 16)
(Age 16)
(Age 17)
Oona was the only one of Charlie’s three teenage wives he actually liked and respected despite the thirty-six year difference in their ages. She was intelligent, cultured, sophisticated, well educated and—unlike Harris or Grey—immediately abandoned her show business aspirations when their affair began and never perceived him as a meal ticket. Chaplin’s first two teenage wives had been fleeting fantasy objects of his sexually infatuated romantic imagination and also were, perhaps, throwbacks to his own mother’s highly romanticized (and self-flattering) descriptions of herself as an aspiring 16-year-old actress.

Commenting on his attraction to teenagers, Chaplin later confided to a friend (Harry Crocker): “I have always been in love with young girls, not in an amorous way—just as beautiful objects to look at. I like them young because they personify youth and beauty. There is something virginal in their slimness—in their slender arms and legs. And they are so feminine at that age—so wholly, girlishly young. They haven’t developed the ‘come on’ stuff or discovered the power of their looks over men.”

Unfortunately for Chaplin and for his first two equally disillusioned teenage lovers, the abrupt transition from virgin to slut occurred within days of his successful seduction of them or theirs of him (depending on one’s point of view). As his oldest son Charlie Chaplin Jr. observed : “[my father’s] troubles sprang from incurable romanticism…[he was] utterly blind to the fact that he was dealing with flesh and blood…[and] would form a deep attachment for his created image much as Pygmalion fell in love with his statue. When the idyll he had created for himself would explode into stark reality he would be shocked, angry and hurt as at some betrayal.”
© 2008 All Essay Rights Reserved.

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