Let’s face it, with every new year a new 100th anniversary of something or someone will inevitably arise. While others might have been off celebrating the centennial births of George Reeves (Superman) and Danny Thomas (Make Room for Daddy), or the film debuts of Milton Berle, Oliver Hardy, Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino I was planted firmly within the confines of one of Earth’s most beautiful movie palaces, The Castro Theatre, for what was to be a full day of Charlie Chaplin films featuring his iconic character, The Tramp, who non-coincidentally made his film debut exactly 100 years to the very day. Happy birthday, Tramp!
For eight hours I was treated to live musical accompaniment for four of Chaplin’s short films, as well as two of his feature lengths. Jon Mirsalis handled all of the shorts on his piano, while Timothy Brock conducted the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra for the feature lengths. As was to be expected, the music was fantastically flawless. In between these films there was a crowd-pleasing look-a-like contest, a slew of factoids from Chaplin historian, Jeffrey Vance, and a lot of happy conversations ranging from all audience members, whether they were super young, incredibly old, or somewhere in between.
As far as comedians in the silent era go, Charlie Chaplin is not my favorite, not even my second favorite. With that being said the films I have seen of his so far, along with the ones that I watched here were all pretty amazing. My takes on what I saw, after the jump