Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oscar Week and THE ALIAS MEN: Chaplin and silent film resources

I love to get lost in research. Although I estimate that I only use about one percent of the information I find, it's fun to get lost in biographies, maps, and old photos. Researching the Hollywood silent film era for Double Vision: The Alias Men was absolutely fascinating. And watching old Chaplin movies may have been the best of all...

I thought I would share some of the links and books, in case you feel like joining in. Great for the classroom, if you're an elementary/middle school teacher!


My Autobiography by Charles Chaplin

Great insight into Chaplin, silent cinema, and the people of his era. I really enjoyed his astute observation of people. At times funny and moving all at once, much like his films.
A must-read, in my opinion.

Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin by John Bengtson

Fascinating look at the film sets of Chaplin movies; Bengtson also published books on Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd film locations. If you're a film buff, these books are for you. You can read a Denver Post interview with the author here.

Online Resources

Charlie Chaplin website

Silent Locations: For silent film location information, look no further than John Bengtson's blog. He has images, factoids on Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd. A research treasure trove...

The Great Depression: a curriculum guide from FDR Library (for educators).

Hollywood sign: the sign has its own website! Find out more about the history, and where to go if you want to visit.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre: interesting history.      

For educators: here's a teacher's guide to Double Vision: The Alias Men to use in the classroom.

What's your favorite silent movie?


  1. Fleur, I prefer Laurel and Hardy over Charles Chaplin, as does everyone in my family. A few years ago, I bought a set of L&H and Chaplin movies that are no longer available in the stores. Chaplin's "The Kid" and "The Circus" are some of my favourites. I'd be interested in reading his autobiography.

  2. I grew up watching Laurel and Hardy (my father's favorite--I loved how he would laugh out loud :-). I'm amazed by how these early movies are still so relevant and entertaining. My kids were glued to "The Kid" when I watched it.

    Chaplin's autobiography is fascinating, I think. I hope you'll have a chance to read it, Prashant.