Simon Louvish
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ISBN 9780571237692 Format Paperback
Published 06/05/2010 Length 432 pages

About Book

An Everyman who expressed the defiant spirit of freedom, Charlie Chaplin was first lauded and later reviled in the America that made him Hollywood's richest man. He was a figure of multiple paradoxes, and many studies have sought to unveil 'the man behind the mask.'

Louvish charts the tale of the Tramp himself through his films - from the early Mack Sennett shorts through the major features (The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator et al.) He weighs the relationship between the Tramp, his creator, and his world-wide fans, and in doing so retrieves Chaplin as the iconic London street-kid who carried the 'surreal' antics of early BritishMusic Hall triumphantly onto the Hollywood screen. Louvish also looks anew at Chaplin's and the Tramp's social and political ideas - the challenge to fascism, defiance of the McCarthyite witch-hunts, eventual 'exile', and last mature disguises as the serial-killer Monsieur Verdoux and the dying English clown Calvero in Limelight.

This book is an epic journey, summing up the roots of Comedy and its appeal to audiences everywhere, who revelled in the clown's raw energy, his ceaseless struggle against adversity, and his capacity to represent our own fears, foibles, dreams, inner demons and hopes.

  • About Simon Louvish

    Simon Louvish was born in Glasgow in 1947 and misspent his youth growing up in Israel between 1949 and 1968, including a stint as an army cameraman from 1965 to 1967.

    Having decamped to the London School of Film Technique in 1968, Simon became involved in the production of a series of independent documentary films about apartheid in South Africa, dictatorship in Greece, and general mayhem in Israel-Palestine from 1969 to 1973. He also published a memoir of his Israeli days entitled A Moment of Silence in 1979.

    Since 1985 Simon has published a series of novels set mainly in the Middle East, including the acclaimed Blok trilogy (The Therapy of Avram Blok, City of Blok and The Last Trump of Avram Blok). His most recent Middle East novel, The Days of Miracles and Wonders, was published in the UK in 1997 by Canongate.

    Since 1979, he has also been teaching film at the London International Film School and writing for various newspapers and magazines.

    Simon Louvish is the author of a trilogy of definitive biographies of the great clowns of screen comedy, including Man on the Flying Trapeze (1997), the story of W. C. Fields, Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers (1999), and Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy (2001), all published by Faber & Faber. Further film biographies include Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett(2003), Mae West: It Ain't No Sin (2005), and Cecil B. DeMille and The Golden Calf (2007).

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