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This Day In Esoteric Political History
"james mccranie" Discussed on This Day In Esoteric Political History
"Of the sort of many phases of charge happens life. I mean as you look at him. I mean no surprise. Many many books have been written many documentaries. But you know this is one of those characters through which you feel like you could tell the entire story almost of twentieth century america So we're focused in this moment here in the in the late forties early fifties. But you know. Nicosia just have any thoughts on chaplain in general and kind of like what his story says about us. I mean we've skipped over one point in his career. He you have silent film slapstick star and then you have the persecuted communist sympathizer but you know in nineteen forty. He makes this film called the great dictator Which is kind of an tearful film rate. He's he's as strong anti fascist. He's coming out against The hitler regime. I guess you know you have the moustache already. You play the character of hitler. In this in this spoof comedy. It's a comedy but then it ends with this big dramatic speech in defense of democracy. And that's a really interesting moment to look back on today but it also gets him even more on the radar the fbi he'd been on the fbi's radar since the fbi was founded And they were suspicious of him because he hung out with people who they considered to be radicals And you know over thirty years. They amassed quite a file on him and by nineteen fifty two they kick them out and it's crazy because i think that a lot of people don't even realize that charlie chaplin was not american. You know a heat becomes such a a major celebrity and a household name that when it comes time for him to come back to the states. People are sort of like wait. Charlie chaplin's not american british. So i think. I think that's a huge part of the story as well as what happens when you have these major celebrity's that become a part of pop culture in ways that it becomes difficult to see charlie chaplin as a foreigner. Yeah which well two things so one is. I suppose it's easier to have people not realize you are british if you're a silent film so part of it And then also you know to your point. you know. there's this question. He's not american but the question. A hand is unamerican. right he's an american star He has made his name in this country. He is in this moment. Returning to england for the first time in a long time action. He has some really interesting sort of thoughts in this moment about the united states versus england particularly in this moment in the early fifties But then yes. The fbi is starting to ask some questions about him. Hoover starting to ask some questions about that. That great dictator which was in one thousand nine forty. So you know. We're talking now about a decade plus of charlie chaplin as sort of like outspoken political. Figure but that film the great dictator. I mean first off. The lampooning of hitler was such a huge statement and moment in sort of cultural political sense. But then you know the reactions to that are just so resonant for now. because there's you know you you have the whole like colin kaepernick like stick to sports thing. People were basically saying. Charlie like stick to comedy right and saying no wants this here. You preach about real issues the end of your fun films or whatever and you just read these coats and they're so resonant but it's also really interesting to me that the thing that gets hoover to say wait. This person might be a radical is standing up to hitler this really fascinating kind of thing of like that's the that's the thing that makes you worry but yeah episode on why hoover is the worst. Might tell the whole the whole history of america after everyone so many beloved people but for the most sort of superficial or or you know shallow reasons we should say but that his his intent upon like targeting you ruins people's careers it ruins people's lives so when we think about this moment i'm thinking in the nineteen and fifties. I'm thinking about how. Hollywood is completely on edge because of the fear of being blacklisted. I think about paul roberson. Who has his passport taken away as well. You know charlie. Chaplin is not alone in this in this targeting. But i think it just goes to show you that no one was sort of above the frame giving around. You know hoover's clause if he if he wanted to target you and chaplain was targeted in that. Nineteen forty seven attack on hollywood. I think we've talked before about the hollywood ten and their trial But chaplin wasn't blacklisted. Because he was actually in a more independent position. He's he's got two sources of independence one. He's not a us citizen. He's a british citizen But to that he is part of the ownership structure of united artists So he can't be blacklisted. Because he's a part owner of the studio that's making his films and that economic security and that ownership provides him with a layer of protection that so many of the people who are blacklisted. Didn't have so eventually. The blocking the deportation are blocking his entry. Back into the. Us is their work around for all of these forms of independence that he has he was subpoenaed to appear before Who act the house. Unamerican activities committee he did not actually testify there. But yes so that brings us to this moment in fifty two. He travels on september seventeenth to europe to promote a new film limelight. You know. I think it is worth just saying like his popularity has waned a little bit. He's still charlie chaplin. But you know he's not as famous or notable and some people attribute that to his being a little more political or outspoken. But i think it's just you know. Culture changes and so forth nonetheless. Still a big star travelling to europe to promote his new film limelight. It was his first visit. Back to england in twenty one years the one of the last things he says when he gets on a boat to go versus. I'll probably be back in six months or so but not not any longer than that. Of course it ends up. Being almost twenty years in part because us attorney general james mccranie orders that ins to look into chaplain and see whether he will be re admitted into the united states and the justification for this inquiry was that there is law. That can bar- aliens on the grounds of quote morality health or insanity or for advocating communism yet. And i think that moral turpitude part of it is actually an important part of the discussion. Because part of the reason that his popularity wains in the nineteen forty s. He's caught in the midst of this scandal where he has a relationship with a woman in her early twenties and she ends up getting pregnant and he's kind of over the relationship she's talking about it the tabloids and there is this sense that he is the very constricted sexual mores of the era like someone who is not morally upright and this does cost him some popularity with his fans at the same time. He's making movies. That are kind of anti war in anti nuclear weapons and those the politics and the questions of sexuality and morality are all smooshed together during this era and so just like you have people who are being investigated. Because they're gay and there'd be that's considered a sign of communist. Leanings of his relationships are under a microscope as well and so that's all together for chaplain and becomes part of the reason that he is.