Talk:Charlie Chaplin

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Photo use[edit]

Paulette Goddard in 1936

I've given up on getting a photograph of Paulette Goddard into the section on Paulette Goddard, despite the facts that Chaplin and Goddard were together for a decade and eventually married, she was his leading lady in Modern Times and The Great Dictator, and the scandal of whether or not they were actually married at the time probably cost her the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind before Vivien Leigh turned up. Goddard was also the only Chaplin leading lady to enjoy a huge screen career after parting with him, as leading lady in theatrical films to major actors in their prime like John Wayne (twice), James Stewart, Gary Cooper (twice), Charles Boyer, Bob Hope (three times), and Fred Astaire (dancing with him), among numerous others. So in case anyone's curious about what Paulette Goddard looked like and doesn't happen to know (if you attend New York University in New York City, "Goddard Hall" is named after her), here's a photograph from Modern Times, her first film with Chaplin. Does anyone else agree with me that a photograph of Goddard should be included in the article as a matter of course, particularly since photographs of his other wives appear? Jump Forward Immediately (talk) 17:19, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Considering that Lita Grey and Oona O'Neil have pictures in the article I see no reason why Goddard need be excluded. Mediatech492 (talk) 18:39, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
The article, in my opinion, has enough photos as it is and we need to draw the line somewhere. Images are nice for illustrative purposes, but too many can ruin it. We must be careful not to burden the article which is already bursting at the seams with images.Talk 18:50, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
The issue here is that there are loads of very good pictures that could be used in this article, but there's just not enough space for them all, and therefore only the most relevant should be used. Although I definitely agree with you that Goddard was an important element in Chaplin's life in the 1930s, there's just not enough space in the 1930s section for another picture. The poster for Modern Times is much more relevant as the film was one of the high points of Chaplin's career and marked his transition to more openly political themes. If we had more space, it would be nice to use a photo of him and Goddard as well, but as I already stated, there's just not enough space. Furthermore, I would like to point out that only two of Chaplin's four wives have their images in the article. Lita Grey's image is included because the scandal related to her was one of the biggest of Chaplin's career and in fact almost ended it – it occupied Chaplin for a whole year, delayed the making of The Circus, and would haunt him for a long time afterwards. This was much more serious than any of the headlines generated by his relationship to Goddard (also, I don't think it was necessarily the fact that Goddard couldn't prove her marriage to Chaplin that lost her the role of Scarlett O'Hara; let's remember that Vivien Leigh was at the time still married to another man but living with Olivier. Based on the archived correspondence between those involved in the casting process, it was the fact that Goddard was under contract to Chaplin to make The Great Dictator at the time that made Selznick decide against her; Chaplin's tendency to take years to complete a film was notorious). The first image of Oona O'Neill is included for similar reasons, as the marriage was seen as hugely scandalous and inappropriate; the second in which she is together with Chaplin and some of their children is fitting because in the last decades of his life, Chaplin wanted to portray himself as a 'family man'. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 19:03, 2 January 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
Also, anyone who is reading the article and becomes curious about what Goddard looked like can click on the link to her page. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 19:04, 2 January 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
The Scarlett O'Hara topic is intriguing and practically every reference I've encountered and many documentaries bring up the issue of the nebulous marriage to Chaplin as being a stumbling block; I've also pored over Selznick's many memos myself and they're so voluminous that many different perspectives appear over the stretch of time, some of them conflicting as his thoughts change. One of the oddest things about this Wikipedia article on Chaplin is that it's illustrated with so many film posters. I can't think of another biographical article of any actor with three substantial sized reproductions of film posters, in every other case I've seen on Wikipedia, they're relegated to the article about the film itself, probably because of some Wikipedia fair use ruling. To paraphrase what you said earlier, if a reader wants to look at a poster, in practically all other cases except this particular biographical article, he clicks on the link to the film. And in an article in which such a premium is placed on space for illustrations, there's actually a photo of his Hollywood Walk of Fame star, something that literally fits the description that "if you've seen one, you've seen them all." I know there was a unique delay in Chaplin receiving it due to his political views but that could be noted in a line of text; how can the absence of a photo of Goddard be perceived as sensible when the article actually succumbs to the Wikipedia cliche of harboring yet another in the countless identical photographs in articles of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Jump Forward Immediately (talk) 20:52, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Jump Forward Immediately, I'm sorry that you don't like the differing of opinion, but I think it a pretty poor show that you now feel the need to criticise other areas of the article just because you can't get your own way. CassiantoTalk 21:29, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Cassianto, every word I wrote was a direct response to the previous comment about the motives for Selznick's choice and the larger issue itself, which is the markedly unusual way that space for illustrations is being used on the site. Never deviated from that for a moment, never moved to a different topic. As a matter of fact, I'm beginning to suspect that, speaking of "criticizing other areas," your evident hostility might have more to do with my entry in the previous discussion about the word "Comedian" than it does about this. As far as this business that I "can't get [my] way," I'm not nine years old and that line of thinking would never occur to me. That having been said, I'm also not interested in entering into some unfortunate dynamic with a fellow Wikipedia contributor like yourself. Jump Forward Immediately (talk) 22:29, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
My "evident hostility" is evident only to you it appears. To make a distinction between my "evident hostilit[ies]" here and the previous section is both false and deluded. CassiantoTalk 22:43, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
".....I think it a pretty poor show that you now feel the need to criticize other areas of the article just because you can't get your own way" sounds a trifle hostile to me and I should think would to anyone, and as for your response that my recognition that this had more to do with the previous "Comedian" discussion than with photographs was delusional, I'm not a mind reader so I'll happily defer to your more intimate knowledge of your own motives. Jump Forward Immediately (talk) 14:24, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
The advantage of including images of posters is that they illustrate better than simple film stills how Chaplin was perceived and chose to portray himself when these films were released. In the poster for A Dog's Life, we not only get a famous image from the film, but also lines like "The one and only" (illustrating how Chaplin was imitated and also considered 'unique') and 'in his first million dollar picture' (shows Chaplin's popularity and the public's obsession with the amount of money he was making). As for Modern Times, there is one good quality still in Commons, but I would say that the poster is more effective, as in it the Tramp's facial expression is very stern and there isn't any hint that this is a comedy film; it therefore demonstrates how his films were becoming heavier and more polemical than before. The third poster, with its tagline 'Chaplin Changes - Can You?' shows how Monsieur Verdoux was a new beginning for Chaplin, and also alludes to the profound change in his public image in the US during this time. In other words, the posters have not been chosen arbitrarily but because they illustrate the themes of Chaplin's career as well as the historical context better than simple film stills. This applies to all other picture choices as well – we cannot simply have a gallery of the important people in Chaplin's life. As for the Walk of Fame image, I do not object to it being replaced with something better, but given that I feel that the image should be appropriate to the theme of 'Awards and recognition', I am not entirely sure what other image to use. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 21:37, 2 January 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3

In theory it would be great to have an image of Goddard, but in practice it just isn't really possible. She can only go in the "Travels, Paulette Goddard and Modern Times" bit, but there isn't space. The only way it could be added is to remove the Modern Times image, but since that's one of his *major* films (top 3 best known, probably) I definitely think that's more important to have. Lita Grey got in there because The Circus (even though it's one of my personal favourite Chaplin films) isn't one of his most acclaimed, so doesn't need focusing on so much, and Oona O'Neill was easy to get in because there's no other picture that would be relevant to that section anyway (and she was his wife for 35 years, after all). I'm surprised you're complaining about the posters: the article would look a bit boring if it was all black and white publicity stills. As I said in a recent edit summary, the posters add colour and variety (not to mention Suzie's excellent points about how they give insight into his career: the Monsieur Verdoux image, in particular, was chosen precisely for that reason...the Modern Times one as well, since it illustrates the comment given in the caption). We all know that "Walk of Fame Star" images are boring, but at least it allows us to put an interesting tidbit in the caption (and what other image would we put there anyway?) --Loeba (talk) 22:13, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Actually there's plenty of room in that section for another illustration simply by moving most of the long but superb caption into the text, where it would be more effective, and slightly moving the poster up a bit. We're sort of ignoring a whole aspect of Chaplin's life (see his autobiography) when there's no indication that this was someone, by dint of being literally the most famous and embraced man of his generation on a global scale, who went through sensationally beautiful women like McCormick's reaper through stalks of wheat. A photo of Goddard, in sharp contrast to the rather dowdy-looking pictures in the article, would correct this in a fell swoop since this is one of those cases where a picture really is worth "a thousand words." Jump Forward Immediately (talk) 14:49, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
For the last time, we cannot have an image of Goddard just because she was important in Chaplin's life for eight years - she was important but not the most important element in his life at the time, his films were. There is no point in including photos simply because they are beautiful – their relevancy to the themes of the actual article is far more important. We are NOT ignoring Goddard, her name is even in the heading of that section. Your reasoning seems to be that if we don't include a photo of someone, we are ignoring their influence in Chaplin's life. Following this logic, we are also ignoring Chaplin's father, brother Sydney, his first wife Mildred, Fred Karno, Max Linder, Mack Sennett, Douglas Fairbanks, Joan Barry, etc. because we don't include photos of them. That's absolutely ridiculous. For the last time: the photos that accompany the article have been chosen because they are most relevant to the themes of the text. You seem to imply that we should instead prioritize photos of the beautiful women in Chaplin's life because they provide eye candy. I'm sorry, but that would lower the quality of the article – it would simply not be as informative anymore. Also, if you are so preoccupied with protecting Goddard's legacy, why don't you focus your energy on developing her page?TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 16:19, 3 January 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
Actually, I think elevating the ambiance of the article is a good idea since that's sadly lacking thus far, it's unrelentingly drearier in appearance than it has be and I know that the inclusion of that photograph will obviously stimulate interest and readership, particularly with younger readers who are trying to figure out who this comedian, who was the 20th century's most exalted entertainment giant, actually was. I've contributed to hundreds of biographies of film luminaries in Wikipedia over the past decade and a half but this is the only one I've ever seen in which film posters are accorded this much weight and designated to be the only illustration in a section, to the exclusion of any photograph whatsoever as well. Why? Clutter has nothing to do with it. To respond to your closing line, I have contributed a bit to Goddard's page but, believe it or not, I've never particularly focused on her any more than the next commensurately interesting performer. I think you struck the nail on the head when you mentioned that including her photo would "lower the quality of the article," while I think it dramatically elevates the ambiance and adds a truly important element that's most illustrative of Chaplin's life. In other words, we're talking about an aesthetic discord between us: you find the photograph itself's presence in the article somehow inherently distasteful, that it looks like a glamour shot from a different realm that threatens to convert the article into a chapter from Playboy Magazine, while I think it elevates the article's ambiance and forcefully illustrates an extremely important general element in Chaplin's life without needing to type an additional word of text (or to type ten thousand words of text), and represents a dramatic improvement. You mentioned that I imply that "we should instead prioritize photos of the beautiful women in Chaplin's life because they provide eye candy." No, I never mentioned prioritizing photos of women, just one woman in particular in one photograph, no additional women remotely necessary. I momentarily got caught up in going back and forth with you partly because of the bizarrely cavalier way that you seem to claim ownership of the article. It's not an important enough issue for me to pursue since more pressing matters currently hold a more urgent claim on my attention than a Wikipedia article, so I'm not going to call in reinforcements at this time and see who else might agree with me. Jump Forward Immediately (talk) 01:26, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Again, I cannot but reiterate that since this is an encyclopedia, we should focus on the article being as informative as possible. The problem with focusing on aesthetics is also that what is considered beautiful varies from person to person – for example, I and several other users find the page, as is, to look good. You disagree and that is fine; however, what I take issue with is your insistence that because you find the page 'dreary' due to the inclusion of three film posters (out of a total of 25 images), the photos should be changed to ones you find more pleasing to the eye. You ignore the fact that these posters are informative and relevant to the themes of the article, and insist that they should be removed because you find them ugly, and to make room for a studio publicity photo of Goddard. Having a publicity shot of Goddard is not adding to the informative value of the article; your only arguments for its inclusion are that she was important in Chaplin's life (as were several other people, but for some reason you're not insisting on us including their photos) and that it's a pretty photo that would make the article more appealing to those who are not actually interested in the topic. It's not Wikipedia's primary purpose to turn anyone searching for information to a fan of any topic; the primary aim is to provide information. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 10:09, 6 January 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3

While we're on the subject, I think one of the images in "Background and childhood" should be removed (the workhouse one was added recently, and it does have some worth but I don't think we can have two). So which do you guys think is better to keep, the one of Hannah Chaplin or the one of the workhouse? Or I guess we could remove the quotebox, although I personally find it interesting and insightful... --Loeba (talk) 22:30, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Could the two be merged somehow? As in, the quote would be placed in the description of the image? Otherwise, keep Hannah's image, as I think Chaplin spent the majority of the time that he was separated from his mother in Hanwell rather than in the Lambeth Workhouse. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 22:39, 2 January 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
I personally would remove both images. They don't really add as much benefit to the article as the other pictures do. If there are available pictures of Chaplin with his mother, though, that might be worth including. There are also too many statue images in one spot. I would just use one or two. Snuggums (talk / edits) 22:41, 2 January 2015 (UTC
  • Which ever image Charlie passed FAC with would be the safest bet I think. CassiantoTalk 22:45, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Unfortunately I don't think there are any images of Chaplin with his mother; in fact, there's only one known picture from his childhood. I wouldn't delete Hannah Chaplin's image though (unless of course an image of Chaplin as a young boy is available), because she was such a central influence in Chaplin's life.TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 22:47, 2 January 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
I think the point of combining the images of the statues was to show how many have been dedicated to Chaplin globally; I believe it's quite unique for a film star.TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 22:50, 2 January 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
You're absolutely right about the statues, Susie, it's a unique series of photos for a supremely unique performer. Jump Forward Immediately (talk) 23:07, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Placing them in different spots—with or without image groupings—would be one thing, but this many in one spot just clutters the article. Snuggums (talk / edits) 22:56, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) That's very true Susie, his time spent at the actual workhouse was only about a week, I think. Snuggums, I know neither image is great but I think this is the only one that actually shows Chaplin during that time period, and he's so small (he is in the third row, right in the middle) that I'm not sure there'd be much point in it...I still think the one of Hannah has worth, since her illness had such an impact on Chaplin's childhood and then his whole life. I have thought before about expanding the caption to make the image more useful...I'm not really sure why I didn't actually! I'd forgotten, by the way, that there's actually an image of Chaps playing Billy the Pageboy - [1]. It would be pretty good to have that in the article, wouldn't it? I'm sure it must be PD, it's over 100 years old... --Loeba (talk) 22:59, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Hmm, looking at those two photos now and realising that copyright shouldn't be an issue, I think I would actually prefer either the workhouse group image (it's small but I think it gives a sense of the poverty he experienced) or the Billy the Pageboy image to replace Hannah's portrait. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 23:04, 2 January 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
It would definitely benefit the article to give a more elaborate caption for Hannah as well as Lita and Oona. Yes, that image of him playing Billy the Pageboy is in public domain since all images taken before January 1, 1923 are automatically free. Snuggums (talk / edits) 23:06, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
All images published in America before 1923 are PD, but the UK has different rules. Even so, I think it must be PD, I'd just need a bit of help on it (I learned all about American copyright laws for this site, but not my own country's!) The page boy one would go in the "Young performer" section. I guess we could just upload the Hanwell image for the childhood section...By the way, the Oona caption couldn't get anymore elaborate, could it?! The Lita one used to say "bitter divorce", therefore hinting more at why she is relevant, but it was removed. I'll add it back. --Loeba (talk) 23:11, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
I was referring to the solo picture of her, and would probably add mention of scandal in the caption for her and Lita. "Bitter divorce" seems POV though. Snuggums (talk / edits) 23:15, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

I've added both of the "childhood" images we discussed here. Good additions. --Loeba (talk) 20:14, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes they are :) Snuggums (talk / edits) 20:17, 4 January 2015 (UTC)


I have just gotten a message on my talk page saying that my understanding of WP:PEACOCK is excessively strict. I question reverting "Speculation about Chaplin's racial origin existed from early in his career" to "Speculation about Chaplin's racial origin existed from the earliest days of his fame" when the first sentence is an objective, rather than subjective, treatment of facts.Curb Chain (talk) 23:50, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

Fame is not synonymous with career. People are often not famous at the beginning of their career. Also, your proposed revision still needs to be true. If you're going to replace fame with career, then you should double check the source (In this case, it's David Robinson's Charlie Chaplin: His Life and Art. You should look at the source before you change it. If the source says earliest days of Chaplin's fame, then is should stay that way, I think. Otherwise changing it misrepresents both the facts and the source. Rylon (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 06:44, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
The prose in this article are mostly paraphrases of the sources. The article reads poorly and unscholarly. Simple changes I suggested can improve it, rather than treating a biography article with haughty adjectives. Scientific objectivity can be applied to all aspects of writing. (talk) 05:53, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't think fame is a haughty adjective in the instance you cite. MOS:WTW says to use common sense and that the guideline has occasional exceptions. WP:IAR, explicitly says ″If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it.″ I think we can say that Charlie Chaplin is famous. He died 37 years ago and people still know who he was. In addition, his last major role was over half a century ago, but people still impersonate his tramp character. Fame is being widely known for something, it's something beyond notability, and it's not subjective when applied people Charlie Chaplin. MOS:WTW may say that the word fame is subjective, but the MOS is wrong in this case and WP:IAR backs me up. Rylon (talk) 06:40, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't necessarily go against MOS, i.e. things like "he rose to fame" or "he was famous for _____" are perfectly objective. Snuggums (talk / edits) 06:47, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
True, but MOS:WTW, particularly the WP:PEACOCK portion, is written poorly. And the editor above seems to have taken it to mean an absolute ban on some words. If you take a look at Curb Chain's user page you'll see that he runs a find on a list of words and edits those words out without any consideration for context. Rylon (talk) 09:21, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Rylon is quite right when he says "Fame is not synonymous with career". Chaplin's career started in 1899, when he was 9, but people didn't start speculating about his heritage until he was famous. It's simply an accurate statement of facts (and "fame" is actually an understatement when it comes to Charlie Chaplin in the 1910s). Curb Chain, you really do seem way too sensitive when it comes to "peacock" words. We would be doing our readers a disservice if we didn't make clear how exceptionally popular this man was (and same goes for any other major personalities in history). The article also talks a great deal about how unpopular Chaplin became (one user even complained that it was too negative) so you cannot claim that it lacks neutrality. --Loeba (talk) 10:36, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Oscars Stolen[edit]

According to Yahoo! Movies (via The Hollywood Reporter) Chaplin's first Oscar (from the very first Academy Awards in 1929) was stolen. I'm unsure if this belongs here, but I would think, given the history of the item itself and its relation to Chaplin, it would be wise to mention it somewhere. Thoughts? Vyselink (talk) 00:00, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

I think if we include it somewhere, it should just be as a footnote to the bit where his getting that Oscar is mentioned.TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 15:47, 14 February 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
That makes sense to me. Vyselink (talk) 18:36, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Or it could just be mentioned on the film's article? --Loeba (talk) 11:20, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
That makes sense as well. I googled this and it doesn't seem like there's any official statement from the Chaplin office, just reports from the Hollywood Reporter and the Telegraph – which makes me think that maybe we should not include it anywhere at this point? TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 11:53, 15 February 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
While The Daily Telegraph and The Hollywood Reporter are both reliable sources, I'm not sure if there should be anything on a claim like this that didn't come from Chaplin or his family. Snuggums (talk / edits) 13:32, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

While I do not know if it should be included, and will go with either decision w/e the consensus, I do want to point out that if we waited for "official" claims or responses from celebrities family/agency/whatever, a lot of information would not be known. Vyselink (talk) 01:05, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

I think it depends a lot on what type of information we're talking about. In this case, given that there has not been any official statement either from the Chaplin office or the French police, I'm wondering where these few media outlets received this fairly specific information from, and why the office does not seem to be wanting to make a statement about it? I think we should maybe just wait for a little while and see how the story develops. It's hardly essential information on Chaplin, so there's no harm in not adding it immediately. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 02:15, 16 February 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
My thoughts exactly, Susie. Snuggums (talk / edits) 02:17, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Cause of death[edit]

Any particular reason why the cause of death keeps getting removed from the infobox? Siri and Google Now need the information. Is there a reason for it or just vanity? --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 22:30, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

I personally agree that cause of death should be included in infobox, Richard, but why would Siri and Google Now need it? Snuggums (talk / edits) 22:33, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
And now Cortana and Watson use the infobox data too. All three use the harmonized format of the infoboxes to answer specific questions. What was Charlie Chaplin's cause of death? You can see they use the infobox data when the date in the text is different from the infobox, because of typos, or one is corrected and the other is left uncorrected. I am interested in causes of death and how they change historically. What is the rationale for leaving it off? It seems arbitrary like the classical music people deleting infoboxes ... because they can, not for any reason. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 23:46, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't quite see why Wikipedia articles should be changed because other webpages/services/apps use them for information... While I am of the opinion that infoboxes are very useful, I think they should list just the 'bare essentials'. In the case of someone who died young or violently, it can be wise to include the cause of death in the infobox. There was nothing particularly interesting/controversial about Chaplin's cause of death. The infobox does mention that he died aged 88, so most people probably already understand from that that he died of 'old age'. What really worries me is that if non-essential information like that is allowed to the infobox, other non-essential bits will be added as well, and soon it will be as long as the article itself... TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 02:12, 22 February 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3

Possible misinformation and bias in Great Dictator section[edit]

There's no intention to edit war or argue about the section, but some explanation may be helpful about the added and now reverted details.

  • Churchill's opinion about the film, that he thought it was "fantastic," seemed more relevant to the small section than a lengthy opinion and quote by a single author, Charles J. Maland, who isn't notable enough to warrant a WP article. Hence, the rationale for deleting Churchill's opinion, "There's no need to have so much information about Churchill," and replacing it with Maland's lengthier opinion seems unwarranted.
  • The section says the film was "controversial" with no clue as to why. Therefore the rationale given for deleting the brief explanation about it, we've already made clear it was a controversial topic, is wrong and makes nothing clear.
  • As part of the same reversion above, the paragraph again seems chopped up, with a comment about his reason for a talking vs. a silent film, now surrounded by two disconnected important details: one about Britain then being at war and the other with the unexplained "controversy" about an anti-Nazi film. The rationale for adding that fact, Also important to include bit about this being first spoken dialogue film of Chaplin's, important or not, does not explain why the brief and relevant explanation about the controversy should be summarily deleted.
  • Another rationale for deleting the explanation about the controversy was: what studio heads of MGM etc. thought is not relevant here. That seems to be a weak rationale for removing the explanation added:

with some politicians, such as Joseph Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to England, telling the Hollywood studios to "stop making anti-Nazi movies or use the film medium to promote the democracies versus the dictators."[217] According to actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Kennedy put "the fear of God" into the studio heads.

In fact, Chaplin was one of the main targets of Kennedy's threats, even if less effective. And Fairbanks' father was co-owner, with Chaplin, of his studio.
  • Some of the other material deleted and reverted tends to create an obvious bias by emphasizing Maland's conclusion about Chaplin's . . . five-minute speech in which he looked into the camera and professed his personal, anti-capitalist beliefs, as opposed to those of others, including Chaplin and Roosevelt, who saw it differently: where he professed his wish for worldwide peace.
Nor is it necessary to include a supporting quote and opinion by Maland, "Henceforth, no movie fan would ever be able to separate the dimension of politics from [his] star image", after already emphasizing that Chaplin was an anti-capitalist. A fact, btw, that others and Chaplin considered absurd, having said many times he was not and never was, a communist. The result is that the section of his bio currently gives an obvious non-neutral POV, with opinions focused on supposed "anti-capitalist" leanings vs. what he actually said.

Is all this possible bias and removal of the controversy explanation important? Chaplin might have thought so on the boat trip leaving America. David Robinson—the most cited author in the article—implies its relevance: "the FBI went on to manipulate a smear campaign charging Chaplin with Communist sympathies," and historian Steven Ross added, "he would soon be labeled a Communist in a campaign of rumors and innuendoes." --Light show (talk) 19:37, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

More information about my reasoning:
  • Maland is an extremely respected Chaplin scholar who has written a monograph on Chaplin's star image and its development throughout his career. His analysis is therefore much more relevant than Churchill's comment that he liked the film as it provides the reader with more in-depth understanding of the film's place in history. I did retain the bit where it is says that Churchill liked it – there's no need to repeat that with a quote. We'd basically be writing "Churchill liked the film and said "it's a good film".
  • It is explained that the film was controversial because of its extremely political subject, fascism in Europe. You added Kennedy's statement that Hollywood shouldn't make films about the political situation, i.e. again repeating that political films about the volatile situation in Europe were considered controversial. You were not adding any clarifying information.
  • Chopped up? There's nothing unclear about the structure: the similarities between Chaplin and Hitler were noted –> he got a film idea from that –> developed said idea and wrote its script before the most active stages of the war began, and began shooting it just after Britain joins the war. I really don't see what is unclear or irrelevant here, these are all extremely relevant facts presented in a clear chronological order. The political background is important in discussing a film that comments on the said political events. Also, an anti-Nazi film developed and shot in 1939 by a major mainstream filmmaker is controversial, I don't see what kind of extra information needs to be added besides the timeline of the events that we have already written; Chaplin was basically becoming a political commentator before this film. And again, none of what you added actually gave any clarification either, you just restated that it was controversial. I think it is pretty clear from the context (early stages of WW2, the US not yet sure what to think of Hitler officially) to anyone but people who want to argue for the sake of personal kicks. Furthermore, this version passed FAC, so it seems you're the only editor so far who finds the section confusing?
  • Once again, you are also not getting your facts right. If you had read in depth about Chaplin, you would know that he was the sole owner of his film company. It is true that Fairbanks was co-owner of United Artists, the distribution company, but that didn't have any actual influence on Chaplin's filmmaking. He also died during the filming of The Great Dictator.
  • You added weasel words to the actual description and then added a lot of info on what Churchill and Roosevelt thought, deleting everything else about the reception of the film. Maland discusses the actual reception of the film with the critics and the audiences and how the film changed Chaplin's public image, which is extremely relevant, more so than what the two leaders thought. I did retain some of what you wrote about Churchill and Roosevelt though, as you can see.
  • Surely you understand that someone professing anti-capitalist opinions is not automatically a card-carrying member of the Communist party? He openly criticized capitalism, knowingly professed his opinions in a climate where he knew it would give him some trouble, and was unfairly hounded by the FBI for it. All of that is neutrally conveyed by the article, expunging these facts because you don't understand the difference between having Left-leaning opinions and being a member of the Communist party would make it extremely biased. This is a conversation we have had about 10 times already.TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 21:38, 27 February 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
Actually, I don't think we've ever had a conversation about his anti-capitalist or communist leanings. Previous discussions were focused on the lawsuits and phony accusations from the Mann Act, after which you and Loeba agreed to state that they were "part of a smear campaign to damage Chaplin's image."
As for whether Maland's opinions being kept in while some reasons for the controversy are kept out, makes the section non-neutral, I still believe it does. The section simply states, "Making a comedy about Hitler was seen as highly controversial, . . ." But it fails to explain why. Here again are some simple facts which would help explain to average readers why making the film was considered "controversial":
From September, 1939, until January, 1940, all films that could be considered anti-Nazi were banned by the Hays Office.(Eyman) U.S. ambassador to England, Joseph Kennedy, considered an isolationist, told the Hollywood studios to stop making any pro-British or anti-German films. Kennedy felt that "British defeat was imminent and there was no point in America holding out alone: 'With England licked, the party's over,' said Kennedy." (Wapshott) According to actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Kennedy put "the fear of God" into the studio heads. But the only thing the article says about the "controversial" aspect, is that "Chaplin's financial independence allowed him to take the risk."
But apparently financial independence goes only so far, for soon after the film was released, the "smear campaign" against him began in earnest. (see more detailed sandbox version) Some in Britain might consider this British citizen's defiance, which cost him his career in America, would make him a hero. But that's only a wild speculation. --Light show (talk) 23:11, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Light show, as usual, you are either severely lacking in basic reading comprehension or just want to do this for attention (or both). Making films about current political figures during the time they are in power and in charge of major events unfolding, is ALWAYS controversial, especially so when you're in the US and making a left-leaning parody about Mussolini/Hitler in the late 1930s and when the US was still 'neutral'. We provide links to articles about WW2 and Hitler, so in case the readers are confused about this event/figure, they can go there. Also, please consider that this film was well into production before Kennedy even made that comment or Hays banned anti-Hitler films! And even if there were space for more detailed explanation for what controversy was in this case (which I am not saying there is, you are literally the first person who has issues understanding what is controversial about making an anti-Hitler film in 1939, before Pearl Harbor), your addition is not providing it. You're simply re-stating the same thing; you fetishize quotes, as usual. As for your not understanding what 'anti-capitalist' means, yes we have talked about it before, in the very case you just outlined. You are not making any sense. The very Maland quotes which you find unnecessary (not knowing who he is in Chaplin scholarship is a great indicator of how poor your knowledge about Chaplin is) specifically explain how this film began the 'smear campaign period'. So at the same time, quotes from a Leftist Chaplin scholar whose life's work has been analysing his star image and who pinpoints the openly political GD as a time of change in Chaplin's image in the US (leading to his witch hunt) are 'bias', but we're at the same time not emphasizing strongly enough that GD was controversial and began this change? Just what DO you want? We state the same thing also at the opening of the paragraph. Your last lines are completely incomprehensible to me – you're saying Chaplin did The Great Dictator because of being British? He planned a film about Hitler in 1937/8 and filmed it in 1939 as a pro-UK, anti-US gesture? And that he's a hero for it (which FYI, he is not seen as – he is seen as a hero by some for resisting the Western tendency to try and passively pacify/not care about Hitler and his persecution of the Jews, for making Hitler into a joke), so for some reason it is offensive to write in this article about his ideological beliefs? We're trying to write an encyclopedia here, heroes and villains (or speculation) have no place here.TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 01:00, 28 February 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3

Interpretation of speech[edit]

I added some material to the GD section and removed what turned out to be OR regarding the focus of his speech being against capitalism. I added a quote from Robinson from the page that had been cited. Watching the speech supports that impression, which speaks nothing about economics or capitalism, and more about dictatorship, industrialization, slavery, liberty and democracy. --Light show (talk) 23:30, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Light show, please go and educate yourself about Marxism and anti-capitalism, because you clearly do not understand what these terms mean at all, or their historical context. I'm not sure why I am even replying to you anymore, but here's a list of key bits from the speech that pretty clearly express Chaplin's socialist (or anti-capitalist), anti-fascist views:
1.) talking about equality between all humans, not wanting to be an emperor; 2.) saying that greed has caused present misery (i.e. WW2 – if this isn't an anti-capitalist statement then I don't know what is!); 3.) Machinery as having replaced humanity (again, classic Marxism); 4.) Universal brotherhood; 5.) People have the power...
May I also add that the content of the speech is not something that is debated by Chaplin scholars; it's seen as a clear expression of Chaplin's political views, which were openly anti-fascist and socialist. There is no controversy about this within Chaplin scholarship. In all my interactions with you on WP, it has become clear that you understand 'anti-capitalist' as automatically somehow derogatory and biased, and that you really struggle to see how it can just be a neutral description of a political stance a person took in the 1930s/1940s. Perhaps you have been wrongly taught that words like communist/socialist/anti-capitalist are automatically slurs, as I understand they are in some parts of the US? It seems to me that something like this is at the root of your fixation about this issue? In any case, please do yourself a favour, and go read something academic about 1930s socialism and anti-fascism. It will clear things up for you. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 00:25, 4 March 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
I wouldn't go so far as to say the US deems them slurs per se, but many citizens do feel they carry negative connotations. Snuggums (talk / edits) 00:33, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Just to clarify that I definitely didn't mean that the US or its citizens as a whole don't understand the content of these words and deem them as slurs (Charles J Maland himself is American and his book on Chaplin's star image was published by an American university press!), hence "in some parts of the US" (meaning conservative communities where these words have strong negative connotations and are taken to mean that the person is anti-democratic and anti-American) :) TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 01:12, 4 March 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
I knew what you meant, Susie, but even conservative citizens view it as more of a negative term than they do a slur. No worries. Snuggums (talk / edits) 05:58, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. However, I'm again disregarding your habitual PA-style comments per guidelines, to avoid personalizing discussions. That leaves about one sentence from your reply, which basically supports the fact that you are relying on your interpretation and synthesis instead of reliable sources. You wrote: "here's a list of key bits from the speech that pretty clearly express Chaplin's socialist (or anti-capitalist), anti-fascist views." I'm personally not interested in your political philosophy, but simply want to correct such blatant and undue opinions. With your reverting those necessary corrections without so much as a rationale or prior discussion, combined with your PA blitzes above, the concept of "polite and effective discourse" is not apparent. Try reading the top of this talk page, to be polite and avoid personal attacks.--Light show (talk) 01:18, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Light show, pointing out that you are using your own, incorrect interpretations on very clearly defined terms to make changes to an article is not the same as making personal attacks. You have over and over again had issues with the fact that Chaplin was socialist and anti-fascist in his political views, and the more I discuss this with you the more apparent it seems to be that the root of the problem is that you do not understand the terminology and perceive mentioning Chaplin's ideology as being biased and derogatory. You are the only one stirring controversy about whether or not Chaplin's speech in GD is an expression of his political views, which were openly anti-fascist and socialist at the time. I can only re-iterate, this is not something Chaplin scholars debate about; these are facts. You are editing the article based on your own bias and misunderstanding, which you do not seem to recognise at all. We are all biased to an extent; the key to successful editing is to be aware of it. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 01:32, 4 March 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
Wrong again. I have never expressed issues about whether "Chaplin was socialist and anti-fascist in his political views." Where do you come up with these ideas? Again, I'm just trying to ensure that bios avoid OR. Yet you continue to ignore the guidelines about that, taking on the role of self-appointed expert and article owner, supporting opinions with citations which almost contradict the commentary, as I tried to clarify.--Light show (talk) 01:49, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
That line in the article is not OR, it is clearly footnoted, and in general, the article relies on a wide range of sources, not the opinions of the editors. By listing all of the elements within the speech which are quite clearly anti-capitalist, I was merely explaining to you which elements are widely considered 'anti-capitalist' and why scholars recognise them as such since you said you did not see it (it might also be useful to read anti-capitalism). I was not directly quoting anyone and my message is not the basis from which the article was written. However, you saying that we should change the wording and add another quote because you personally do not see anything anti-capitalist in the speech, due to clearly attaching negative connotations to the term and to not having read the sources on which this article is based on, is very clearly OR.
You have a habit of coming to this article, claiming bias and errors, and then changing large parts of the text (mainly by erasing any mention of Chaplin's political ideology and adding a copious amount of direct quotes). This article went through a FA review quite recently, how did it pass if it is so full of errors and bias as you claim? You claim you are doing this purely out of concern for the quality of the article, but at the same time you do not even bother reading the books cited. How can you know it is erroneous and biased when you haven't done your research? If you really think this article completely misrepresents Chaplin (and based on the fact that you always have some new bit to complain about, that is what you think of it), why don't you take some time to go through the research material (=read the books so that you actually understand the discourse, instead of cherry-picking from Amazon blurbs) and then explain how, based on these sources, this article is biased and wrong? It is very difficult to take your claims of serious bias, OR and errors seriously when you don't seem to have read extensively about Chaplin, but claim to still know much better how this article should have been written. I think it sounds quite reasonable that you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the material cited before criticizing its use. Also, please note that there is a difference between claiming ownership and resisting changes based on shoddy research and OR. Personally, I am not sure there's anything else to say, this discussion is bringing me flashbacks. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 18:04, 4 March 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
After again ignoring the irrelevant efforts to discredit an editor, your lengthy comments and digressions can be refocused on the same improper use of your synthesizing "widely considered" details from "scholars who recognize them as such." Which essentially supports your improper use of OR. BTW, I've already said I thought the article was well written, but this is a 21,000-word article, and I'm only trying to point out that the 450-word section about GD needs improvement. Some suggestions and reasons:
1) This sentence is unsupported: Chaplin concluded the film with a five-minute speech in which he looked into the camera and professed his personal, anti-capitalist beliefs.[225] It includes two sources, neither of which support that fact. Robinson, one source, explained Chaplin's purpose clearly, to express the "fears and his hopes for a world in the throes of its most terrible war." And Louvish says nothing about the speech being about anti-capitalism or even remotely close. That's true of Maland also, with regard to the GD film and speech, as he repeatedly describes Chaplin's purpose for the film and speech as his expression of "anti-fascism." The writers naturally and correctly describe Monsieur Verdoux as criticizing capitalism, as noted in that film's section, but not for GD, and certainly not the speech.
The error is even more exaggerated by the next sentence (Henceforth, no movie fan would ever . . .) where you quote Maland, leaving the "anti-capitalism" reference implied. But Maland himself actually implied the opposite, when he even gave the GD reviews by the CPUSA, which mentioned nothing about capitalism in its reviews: "Masterpiece of Comedy Lashes All Oppression" and "Picture Ends With Eloquent Plea for Peace." And parts of the reviews, notes Maland, called it a "genuine people's film against war and fascism." Chaplin would presumably be insulted if he saw his pleas misinterpreted as an attack on capitalism, as you have done.
2) The result of this misinterpretation, and other reasons related to the "controversial" aspects mentioned earlier, is that the essence of the brief GD section becomes nonsensical. Why? In the order presented in the section, there's a continual disconnect between facts and conclusions:
One paragraph is focused on the still unexplained, yet "highly controversial" aspects of making GD (you expect readers to read the WWII article to understand why.); The essence of Chaplin's downfall is wrongly implied as related to some "anti-capitalist" speech; and that a film which received five Oscar nominations, had the most widespread and enormous reaction of any film Chaplin ever made (Maland), was an "overwhelming financial success," (Maland), had a fifteen-week run in NY, earned more income from worldwide sales and any other Chaplin film, (Maland), was #3 of the top 10 moneymaking films of the previous five years, and voted #3 of 2,400 films that came out that same year, nonetheless "triggered a decline in Chaplin's popularity," per the section. Who wouldn't feel confused? Then the the section explains that Churchill and Roosevelt loved the film, and Roosevelt and others had Chaplin read it on the air. A U.S. president wanting him to read an "anti-capitalist" speech on the air is confusing, nonsensical, and obviously wrong. (Chaplin in fact wrote that Roosevelt's New Deal "saved capitalism from complete collapse," and was therefore among the "finest reforms in the history of the U.S.")
I suggest that the ridiculous "anti-capitalist" conclusions be kept where they belong, in Monsieur Verdoux; that the "controversial" aspects of his film be briefly explained for the non-scholar; and that although his speech was harmful to the film and affected his career, the reviews which understood Chaplin's purpose and willingness to make it at great personal risk, should be added to avoid Maland's undue negativity. To that last point, even Maland's covering a review in Catholic World is worth considering, which described GD as "More devastating than any bomb invented, his caricature of tyrants will long out-live their tyranny." --Light show (talk) 20:22, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
In deference to the primary editors, some of those suggested changes can be made directly or else put in a sandbox for discussion first. --Light show (talk) 18:59, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It's been a while since I checked in here but looking at this edit I must conclude that it is not an improvement. The detail from Maland is crucial while the bit about Joe Kennedy is trivial. Binksternet (talk) 21:09, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

  • Weren't you told not to come here again Light show? CassiantoTalk 20:38, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
    • Light show, Do you want me to spell it out for you? You were warned about your disruptive behaviour a while ago and I really think you should dissapear sharpish. CassiantoTalk 18:38, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
Please knock off the barking. --Light show (talk) 18:59, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
But you were told to steer clear as you are a trouble-maker. This is again evident here. CassiantoTalk 19:32, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
As typical, it's just the opposite. As an editor above also noted, your "evident hostility" usually has little to do with any actual improvement to the article, but appears as more troll behavior. Since you've added nothing to the discussion here, your labeling me a "trouble maker" is comical. The self-imposed IBAN for you and the team is still in place. Please abide by it.-Light show (talk) 21:23, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
Simply by not having you anywhere near this article is an improvement Light show. You are not engaging in a collegial manner and appear to know nothing about this article at all. As usual you rock up and try to enforce your POV which, of course, nobody is interested in. Oh and there's no need to link to "troll", it's a term I have been familiar with since coming across you. CassiantoTalk 21:52, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

Which is true?[edit]

Not sure if this is a chicken or the egg argument, but this article currently states that:

The Nazi Party believed that [Chaplin] was Jewish and banned The Gold Rush on this basis. Chaplin responded by playing a Jew in The Great Dictator and announced, "I did this film for the Jews of the world."

Whereas, over at the The Eternal Jew (1940 film) article, they claim:

Charlie Chaplin was also included in this sequence and inaccurately identified as Jewish, possibly as a consequence of his role as the Jewish barber in The Great Dictator.

Nothing major, but it just irks me as they both seem to be backed up by reliable sources. (I also brought the issue up on that article's talk page).

Good point! I unfortunately don't have any of the Chaplin books here at the moment, but hopefully someone who has them can re-check this and maybe add a clarification to the footnote. I recall that the Nazi party hated Chaplin from the beginning of the 1930s, and a Google search seems to confirm this. For example, there's this paragraph in an article about The Great Dictator published in the The Guardian in 2002:
"Years ago, Ivor Montagu, a close friend of Chaplin's, told me that he had been in Berlin in 1934 and had come across a book called The Jews Are Looking at You, a parody of a children's series, The Animals Are Looking at You. In it, Chaplin was described as a disgusting Jewish acrobat. The Nazis had been deeply offended by the rapturous reception given to Chaplin on his visit to Germany in 1931. Montagu sent this book to Chaplin, and felt that it may well have been the spark that led to the production of The Great Dictator." ( TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 22:57, 24 March 2015 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3