Charlie Chaplin: Intimate Close-Ups by Georgia Hale
From the Intro: Charlie Chaplin was not one but two. For many years I was under contract to Charlie Chaplin. Now I want you to know him as I do. These intimate close-ups of him reveal the still calm of a sun-lit lake, the fury of an unspent sea. ~ Georgia Hale
Georgia Hale was an especially beautiful and talented silent film star and a very gifted writer. Unless you’re pretty familiar with Silents, you probably aren’t familiar with her. After all, she wasn’t in very many films and her career did not continue on into “talkies.” In fact, she only has 17 films to her credit and four of these roles weren’t even named – one was “Second Wife,” one was, “the girl…” you get the idea.
She does have a very big… huge, even… feather in her cap. She starred alongside Charlie Chaplin in one of the most popular, beloved, iconic and brilliant silent films ever made – The Gold Rush.
If you’re going to have one movie that’s truly a stand out, make it legendary.
I often talk about the instant impact many stars and films have on those of us who cherish Old Hollywood. While some actors and actresses become favorites over the course of three, four, or even five films – others leave their fingerprints on your life immediately. There’s just something about them – their screen presence, the way they walk, the way they talk (when applicable), the way they make their character come to life. Sometimes there’s just something in their eyes that you resonate with and… make no mistake about it… you know they’ll be one of your “absolute favorites” for the rest of your life.
When I watched The Gold Rush for the first time, Charlie Chaplin had already been one of my favorites for a while. However, his beautiful co-star, Georgia Hale (portraying his love interest, Georgia) was completely new to me. Within two scenes, I knew she’d be one of my “absolutes.” While she reminded me of a hybrid of two of my all-time favorite actresses (Barbara Stanwyck and Keira Knightley), she was most definitely totally unique and very fun to watch.
To see someone totally new to me holding their own with the breathtakingly brilliant Charlie Chaplin left quite an impression.
When a new “absolute” arrives in my world, I want to read everything about them and see as many of their films as I can find. As is the case with a lot of silent film stars, finding all of her films will be a little tough. But as soon as I saw that she had written a book, I knew that reading more about her would be as easy as it would be enjoyable.
Georgia Hale Publicity Still Photographed by Paralta
Her book, “Charlie Chaplin: Intimate Close-Ups” is as unique as Georgia. It’s also just a little bit sad because She had written a biography and could not find a publisher. It was only when she wrote it from the standpoint of being about Charlie Chaplin that she found someone willing to publish it.
Although, as a fan of Georgia’s, this kind of makes me sad, I cannot help but admire and applaud her determination to have her say! The book is every bit as much an autobiography as it is a Charlie Chaplin biography… in spite of the fact that someone thought it had to have his name on the cover before her name.
In the end, she got her book published and that’s all that matters!
I feel rich for having been so close to him. – Georgia Hale
There are many things I love about this book and we’ll get to them in a minute, but first I want to assure fellow Charlie Chaplin fans that this is not a hatchet job. Yes, she talks about how much she loved him and how he never quite returned this love. He comes to life as, at times, selfish and other times incredibly desperate for attention and love. He can be aloof and bewilderingly unpredictable. He broke her heart as well as other hearts.
In other words, he was a flesh and blood human. Flesh and blood humans are capable of all sorts of things – especially when they’re in the middle of the kind of CRAZY success he had. Georgia does not judge him – she tries to understand him. And to love him.
I respect the fact that she does not wade into bitter, “He did this and this and this… the jackass!” waters. Unlike a certain celebrity daughter (won’t name any names, here), she does not try to knock him down and make a joke of him just to shine a spotlight on herself with a t-shirt that reads VICTIM.
She had too much love in her heart for that.
She explains their complicated relationship, which included great pain on her part, but she loved him… I believe until the day she died.
If Charles Chaplin carried within him many contradictions, was tender-hearted, cruel, sensitive, child-like, a poseur, all these qualities were part of his creative spirit. – Georgia Hale
In a previous post, I shared Georgia’s beautiful story of how Charlie Chaplin changed her life… possibly even saved her life… before she ever even met him. She said, “He made my heart laugh for the first time…” When you’re done here, be sure to read her beautiful words here.
As I always mention in my Old Hollywood book reviews, I am possibly more cautious than any reviewer in the world when it comes to trying to be brief. The internet is always in the fast-lane and I don’t want to slow my readers down. I’m even more tenacious when it comes to NOT giving anything away. Doing so isn’t fair to the author or the reader. I want you to enjoy books as much as I did, journeying from one page blissfully to the next…. without anything being ruined for you.
Charlie Chaplin and Georgia Hale on the set of The Gold Rush
I will allow you to discover the first meeting between these two stars on your own and allow you to explore their relationship without throwing in my two cents. I do, however, want to say that no matter how badly their relationship ended, the fact that she was able (many years later) to still speak of him with love – and at times even a great deal of sympathy for him – tells me that he was a special man. He left a lasting impact on Georgia, one she was never able to run away from.
He also helped her grow and to find herself. Her childhood and teen years weren’t very happy. She dealt with poverty, feelings of not being good enough, and a seemingly unloving father. After Charlie Chaplin came into her life, she found herself able to stand up for herself and TO herself. Later in life, she became very wealthy in real estate – at a time when women weren’t given many opportunities.
She also found a way to get her book published! (I love this fact, could you tell??) While she never married, she did have a loving relationship later in life and left him a wealthy man after she died.
So, yes, she found her happy ever after and, personally, I think Charlie Chaplin had a lot to do with it – in spite of not sharing the ever after with her.
I hope you’ll find a copy of Charlie Chaplin: Intimate Close-Ups (Amazon) or e-Bay. This is a fascinating book about two even more fascinating stars. You’ll also meet other wonderful Old Hollywood stars as you read through Charlie Chaplin: Intimate Close-Ups – Marion Davies, Marlene Dietrich, Mary Pickford, the Gish sisters, Douglas Fairbanks.. and many more.