Drawing on 60 years of original scores, this comprehensive study reveals the untold story of Chaplin the composer and the string of famous (and not-so-famous) musicians he employed, giving fresh insight into his films and shedding new light on the man behind the icon.
When it comes to music, Charlie Chaplin is probably best known as the composer of the chart-topping hit songs "Smile," "Eternally," and "This Is My Song." But there is much more to his musical story.
From his earliest compositions in 1916 as part of the short-lived Charlie Chaplin Music Publishing Company through his first experimentations with film music helping to compile scores for The Kid (1921) through The Circus (1928), Chaplin then composed original scores for every film he made during the sound era, from City Lights (1931) until A Countess from Hong Kong (1967). In the last decade of his life, he returned to his silent roots and composed music for the remainder of his silent features and shorts from 1918–1928.
Along the way, he worked with well-known musicians such as Alfred Newman, David Raksin, and Meredith Willson as well as a host of lesser-known and often-forgotten names, most of whom lasted only one film — if that.
The Music of Charlie Chaplin not only details the dramatic musical backstories and gives these unsung musicians their proper due, it offers a new way to approach Chaplin’s films — through his music.
Jim Lochner has written a biographical study of Charlie Chaplin that doesn’t duplicate anyone else’s work, to the best of my knowledge. … [His] extensive citations (and excerpts from the scores themselves) speak to the thoroughness of this endeavor, which is long overdue. —Leonard Maltin
Jim Lochner’s The Music of Charlie Chaplin [is] a rare kind of film and music history book…rich in detail. … The way Lochner fleshes out the behind-the-scenes drama of Chaplin’s scores, his workaholism, and deficiencies (where they existed) can be riveting. —Tina Hassannia, The Atlantic