Lovers of Modern Times: Oona and Charles Chaplin
Les Amants des Temps Modernes, Charles and Oona Chaplin (Lovers of Modern Times). Editions 1, Paris, 2002
From the slums of London where he was born on April 16 1889 to Hollywood, Chaplin’s life has been both exciting and unpredictable. Very soon, his movies The Golden Rush and City Lights made him one of the most famous men of the XXth Century.
Chaplin never forgot his hard and poor youth. His eagerness in favor of justice is obvious in his movies. When he denounces in Modern Times the workers’ harsh conditions in factories, he becomes a threat to the American way of life. And even more when The Great Dictator comes out, just before World War II. His last words in the movie are considered by the public and by the medias as dangerously similar to communist speeches and they make American conservatives very angry.
Claudine Monteil describes the daily efforts of Chaplin to invent his characters, his fights against the political and industrial world who want to pursue their businesses with dictators, the which-hunt against him all over the US. In this harassing context, and after three unhappy marriages, he meets the young Oona O’Neill, daughter of the writer and Nobel Prize of literature Eugene O’Neill. Despite their huge age difference it is love at first sight. They marry and have eight children. After being forced into exile by the US government, they settle in Vevey in Switzerland until Chaplin’s death on the night of Christmas 1977.
While writing her biography, Lovers of Modern Times: Oona and Charles Chaplin (Editions 1, 2002), Claudine Monteil had the good luck of being helped by some of Chaplin’s children, especially by the actress Geraldine Chaplin. They were kind enough to provide her with unique testimonies and anecdotes.
The book is available in French and Portuguese. If you wish to get a copy you can order it through Amazon.com or Chapitre.com of Fnac.com or you can send a mail to the author through the contact page.