In this course we will explore how Chaplin made film comedy a serious and popular art form. Along the way we will learn a history of early cinema and of the US, which shamefully exiled this extraordinary man in the 1950s because of his outspoken views and left leanings. Charlie Chaplin, in the baggy pants, derby, little mustache and cane of his great creation, the Little Tramp, is the most universally recognized figure in film history. His influence on the development of film and the creation of film comedy as a genre can be readily remarked in the work of diverse directors, from Lubitsch and Pasini to Ozu and Woody Allen. Mingling pathos with humor and sharp social critique, Chaplin showed filmmakers and audiences alike that film was the perfect vehicle for presenting comedy as a seriously funny art form, not to mention an unanticipated source of enormous profit. Chaplin wrote, acted, directed, photographed, and often scored his own films, along the way co-founding United Artists. He also became a hero and spokesman for the poor and working-classes of the world. From creating slapstick shorts to pioneering feature-length comedy films, Chaplin is one of film's greatest (though not always acknowledged) influences as he moved deftly and inventively from one to three-reelers and from silent to talkies. His work culminated in innovative, touching social comedies and satires, such as City Lights, Modern Times, and the first parody of Hitler, The Great Dictator (1940), which Hitler reportedly screened twice.