Sunday (April 16) was Charlie Chaplin's birthday; he was born in 1889. Back in those days, no one associated April 15 or the days surrounding it with burdensome thoughts of income tax. Nowadays, many of us have spent time in the past week scrabbling to pull together tax forms and to find money to pay any taxes due. Tax time can certainly make you feel like The Little Tramp. Just be grateful you don't have to eat your boots.
While I like Modern Times and a few other Chaplin movies, my favorite Chaplin experience was seeing The Gold Rush (pictured above) in a theater a few years ago with a live accompaniment from The Asylum Street Spankers. The Austin band managed to slip the Cantina song from Star Wars into a Charleston dance number, and played the "I wish I was an Oscar Mayer Weiner" jingle during a certain sequence involving potential cannibalism. It was great fun and a charming accompaniment.
After you pay your taxes, or dance with joy about a refund, go rent Modern Times or The Gold Rush. And if you want to pair one of those films with some Chaplin hommage, you've got dozens of choices, from Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd. to Johnny Depp in Benny and Joon. I like Eddie Izzard's characterization of Chaplin in The Cat's Meow, myself.