The Chaplin Archive
|01||01||20110221||20111117||An exclusive look into Charlie Chaplin's life through his personal archives.|
Some of this material has never been revealed before so it's a wonderful opportunity for the Radio 4 audience.
In 1952 America turned it's back on Charlie Chaplin.
His had been the classic American story: from rags to riches and from street boy to millionaire.
But, in the McCarthy era, Chaplin wasn't regarded as patriotic enough for some and he decided to leave.
He chose exile in Vevey, Switzerland where he lived on the shores of Lake Geneva, seeking sanctuary from the hostile atmosphere of Hollywood.
Vevey was where he brought up his children and found peace but always waiting for the America's authorities to realise the mistake they had made.
He died on Christmas Day in 1977 and is buried on the slopes above the lake.
However his archival remains are there too - letters, photos, scripts, recordings, scrap-books - the written legacy of one of the iconic figures of the 20th century.
Writer, broadcaster and film buff Matthew Sweet travels to Vevey in Switzerland where he meets Chaplin's son, Michael, to explore the house and get unprecedented access to some of the amazing revelations of the archive.
We hear recordings of Chaplin composing and Michael Chaplin shows Matthew a document, found in a locked drawer after his death, which could lead experts to revise one of the most basic assumptions made about his famous father.
Helping to guide us and explain the significance of these discoveries through Chaplin's music, his Victorian Poverty and his women are Timothy Brock, composer, conductor and restorer of Chaplin's music, Dinah Birch, historian and Neil Brand, a respected authority on Chaplin.
Matthew Sweet meets Michael Chaplin, who reveals new facts about his father Charlie.
|02 LAST||02 Last||20110228||20111118||Charles Spencer Chaplin was once the most recognised human being on the planet.|
His name was part of everyday conversation in every culture touched by the art of cinema.
In America, his adopted home, he was even the subject of a "mass hallucination".
But America fell out of love with Chaplin.
Hounded by the press and the FBI, he set sail over the Atlantic never to return.
He made his home in a villa on the slopes of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, the place where he endured the cold war against him, brought up his children, found his peace and waited for America to realise what a mistake it had made.
He died there in 1977, and the evidence of his life remains there too.
His house stands empty waiting to be turned into a museum of his life and art.
Stored carefully in a vault in the town below is the extraordinary record of his genius, a hoard of letters, home-movies, recordings, press-cuttings and unfinished scripts.
Matthew Sweet travels to Switzerland to meet Kate Guyonvarch, the director of the Chaplin Family Estate whose job it is to protect and preserve this unique legacy.
Together they explore the vast archive of unpublished work that's barely been touched by scholars and researchers, to conjure a man who came to represent the spirit of his age, the face of the 20th Century.
The team of experts to guide and illuminate us along the way are Glen David Gold, author of Sunnyside, Cecilia Cenciarelli head of Progetto Chaplin (the Chaplin Project) at the Cineteca di Bologna, Italy, Lisa Stein author of Syd Chaplin: A Biography and Simon Louvish author of Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey.
Matthew Sweet travels to Switzerland to explore the Chaplin Archive.
Produced by Ali Serle