Silent Film Benefit features influential Chaplin film

The Catalina Island Museum will present what is considered Charlie Chaplin’s greatest film, “City Lights,” during its Silent Film Benefit on Saturday, May 17.

“We were fortunate to have lived in his time,” said Bob Hope. He was referring to Charlie Chaplin.

The creator of the Little Tramp, Chaplin is considered one of the most respected actors, directors and producers the film industry has ever seen.

The Catalina Island Museum will present what is considered Charlie Chaplin’s greatest film, “City Lights,” during its Silent Film Benefit on Saturday, May 17.

“We were fortunate to have lived in his time,” said Bob Hope. He was referring to Charlie Chaplin.

The creator of the Little Tramp, Chaplin is considered one of the most respected actors, directors and producers the film industry has ever seen.

Interviews later in Chaplin’s life revealed that “City Lights” was his personal favorite.

It is often declared “the most Chaplin” of his films because it combines all of his strengths – the highbrow and the low, the serious and the slapstick.  Over the years he has influenced countless famous actors and directors. Here are just a few examples.

Orson Welles described “City Lights” as his favorite film. Stanley Kubrick listed it in is top 10. Woody Allen said it influenced the final scene in one of his best films, “Manhattan. “

“His interweaving of serious and moving dramatic touches into his comedy is the most obvious lesson I’ve learned from him,” said Allen.

“He was Ovitz, Speilberg, Silver, Redford, John Williams and Baryshnikov all rolled into one,” Ivor Davis wrote in Los Angeles Magazine.

“He was improvising before Robin Williams ever set foot in a comedy club and treating actors like cattle way before Hitchcock. Like Ross Perot, he put his money where his mouth was, financing his own pictures—often to the tune of millions of dollars. He destroyed sets and reshot endings on whim. He told the world he was more popular than Jesus Christ (and he was) years before the Beatles did,” Davis wrote.

“I think this character represents something in all of us to an emotional degree that I don’t know if any other screen character does,” said Dustin Hoffman during an interview in 2003.

“Certainly at the time (of ‘City Lights’ production) the Little Tramp was the most famous character in the world. He’s a perpetual outsider, and his humor comes from how inappropriately he behaves, which is true of all of us,” Hoffman said.

“We are all perpetual outsiders somewhere deep in us; otherwise we wouldn’t search for community as hard as we do,” Hoffman said.

“We directors belong to a well respected profession,” said film director David Lean.

“At our head is Charlie Chaplin. He writes his own stories. He directs them. He acts in them and he even composes the music. He is the one truly creative artist the cinema has produced,” said Lean.

The Catalina Island Museum will present Chaplin’s acclaimed masterpiece, “City Lights,” on Saturday, May 17, in the Avalon Casino Theater at 1 p.m.

For the first time in the Silent Film Benefit’s history, a full symphony orchestra will accompany the film.

Directed by Grammy Award-winning conductor Richard Kaufman, the orchestra is comprised of the most talented musicians in Southern California.Tickets for this year’s Silent Film Benefit are selling fast. Tickets are $15 for members of the museum and $18 for general admission.  

Arrive in your best 1920s dress and receive a 50 percent discount on admission.  

Prizes will be awarded to the best-dressed individual and couple.

Purchasing tickets is easy. Please call 310-510-2414, visit the museum in person or go to the Silent Film event page on www.CatalinaMuseum.org.

The Catalina Island Museum is Avalon’s sole institution devoted to art, culture and history.  The museum, its digital theater and store are located on the ground floor of Avalon’s historic Casino and are open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, the museum may be reached by phone at 310-510-2414 or at its website: CatalinaMuseum.org.

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