When a critic examines the silent films of Charles Chaplin a question that arises is whether the comedy he portrayed is a mockery of political and current issues, or a means to bring laughter to viewers. Silent films generated different emotions and thoughts since a spectator was simply watching actions rather than hearing an explanation through words. Information was cleverly construed this way and however the critic analyzed the information presented was an individual responsibility. In fact, Charles Chaplin once said, "..it is not the reality that matters in a film but what the imagination can make of if," to a young critic.
Media, such as television, film, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet have all been influential mediums of information in the Twentieth century. Rarely was silent film thought of as a strong medium, but Charles Chaplin used silent film as a medium to present political and life issues through a comedic fashion. In Chaplin's later films, he used sound effects, such as whistle blowing and music, to assist him in relaying a message thoroughly. In fact, when films included speech Chaplin felt that this would distort his messages and eventually his success would crumble. Chaplin's beliefs regarding silence in films was expressed earlier by the theorist, Jean Baudrillard. Baudrillard once said, "Speech exchanged dissolves the idea and function of the medium, and of the intermediary, as does symbolic land reciprocal exchange." Though, Chaplin disagreed with Baudrillard's belief that "[the particular media] can involve a technical apparatus as well as a corporeal one, but in this case, it no longer acts as a medium, as an autonomous system administ...
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...is information is not organized or explained in traditional techniques. Therefore, meanings and actions can mislead the viewer to understand an issue entirely differently than what the artist, in this case Charles Chaplin, intended. I do not believe that Charles Chaplin attempted to defy and sneer the government or modern times; but I do understand how some may have taken the issues too seriously being that the films were released so close to the actual events they portrayed.
1. Chaplin. My Autobiography. PAC Holdings: London,1966
2. Jean Baudrillard, "Requiem for the Media," in For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign Telos, 1981
4. Chaplin, Charles. My Life in Pictures. Grosset & Dunlap Publishers: New York, 1975
7. Chaplin. My Autobiography. PAC Holdings: London, 1966
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