Charlie Chaplin (1951)

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Chaplin and politics 291 labor and for a minimum wage of no less than a com- fortable amount to all men and women over the age of twenty-one. I would stand for private enterprise so far as it would not deter the progress or well-being of the majority." When Churchill jibed that the actor should go into Parliament, Chaplin replied, "No, sir. I prefer to be a motion picture actor these days. However, I believe we should go ahead with evolution to avoid revolution, and there's every evidence that the world needs a drastic change." "Modern Times," both before and after its release, gave rise to speculations and rumors about his politics. Karl Kitchen, interviewing him for the New York Times while the film was in progress, brought up the touchy question of Chaplin's citizenship, to be answered, half-jokingly, "If I were ever to take out citizenship papers it would be in Andorra, the smallest and most insignificant country in the world." Kitchen added: "Whether Chaplin is sincere when he discusses certain phases of socialism is dubious. He long has had the reputation of being a 'parlor pink.' . . . But the years and the responsibilities of wealth . . . have made him more conservative." Following his ill-timed plea for a second front to help Russia, his support of Henry Wallace, and the production of his controversial "M. Verdoux," Chaplin was openly referred to as a communist. This he again denied in a press interview following the "Verdoux" opening. To the direct question, "Are you a communist?" he produced an unequivocal, "No!" To the question, "Are you a commu- nist sympathizer?" Chaplin replied, "During the war I was sympathetic with the Russians who were holding the front. I believe we owe her thanks and in that sense I was sympathetic." The comedian said it was because he was an interna- tionalist that he had not become an American citizen;