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Episode 2 of 2
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 Together they explore the vast archive of unpublished work that's barely been touched by scholars and researchers, to conjure a man who came to represent the spirit of his age, the face of the 20th Century.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.