There is a lot to be said about the role that CharlieChaplin played in the influencing of American pop culture. Although the mediumof silent film was already generating a lot of excitement before his debut,Chaplin managed to propel this medium into the very forefront of entertainment.At the height of his popularity, Chaplin’s persona, the little tramp, was oneof the most nationally recognizable images. Today, nearly one hundred yearslater, his reputation has endured. Chaplin’s character relied on his quirky,idiosyncratic mannerisms to become an iconic figure in the silent movie era.
The degree to which he was able to perfectly manipulate his physical actionswere compared to that of a professional ballet dancer’s. Apart from staring invarious groundbreaking movies throughout the early 20th century, Chaplin alsodirected a number of films throughout his lifetime, making him one of the firstfigures to star, write, and direct his own films. This would set an example forfuture generations of actors such as Orson Welles or Clint Eastwood. Chaplinwas known as one of the most demanding directors in Hollywood. His focus on the controlling of his environment allowed for subtletyto come through. His desire to control every aspect of a film forced many ofhis movies to go overthe allotted time and budget, but the final product was always worth theeffort. Though Chaplin is best known for his contribution to the silent filmera, he also laid the groundwork for the modern films we know today.
As filmsgrew longer and audio was added, actors would model their skills on Chaplin’sparticular brand of humor, which involved very exaggerated physical activity.In order to keep the audience’s attention throughout the feature-lengthtalkies, the need for more subtle acting became apparent (PBS.org). Chaplindemanded this from his actors long before anyone else did, leading the way to anew, more sophisticated cinema. Chaplin popularized feature-length films in atime where many studios were still doing ten-minute pictures, and set the precedentfor modern cinema.