Section One

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Chaplin Som Greve (Chaplin as Count)
Charlie Chaplin
Sven Brasch, 1918

The movie industry, growing out of vaudeville and theatrical traditions that had always used poster advertising, adopted this medium as its primary form of promotion. Charlie Chaplin, one of the most versatile and talented figures of the early film industry, was a successful actor, writer, director, and producer. His screen image—the harassed but gallant Little Tramp who rarely lost his grip on his dignity, his derby, or his cane—had universal appeal.

Chaplin’s tragicomic persona disguised an astute businessman and a perfectionist filmmaker who is still respected for such classics as Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940). By World War I, Chaplin had already gained international fame for the antics of his Tramp, as indicated in this poster by Danish artist Sven Brasch. Images such as this one transcended language barriers and kept audiences returning for the next Chaplin film.