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Chaplin films coming to the Charles Theatre

The most towering figure in Hollywood history wore ill-fitting clothes, including shoes several sizes too big, and never said a word. Beginning Saturday, he'll be spending a year at Baltimore's

.

Charlie Chaplin

, a British expatriate who became the first Hollywood superstar and made a series of films — as writer, director and star — still as astonishingly delightful today as they were in the 1920s, is the subject of a yearlong retrospective opening this weekend at the Charles. As part of the theater's happily eclectic weekend revival series, one Saturday a month will be devoted to the man given a special Oscar at the first

Academy Awards

presentation, in 1929, "for versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing 'The Circus.'" Forty-three years later, he received a second honorary Oscar, this time for "the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century."

The series begins Saturday with a triple feature of three Chaplin shorts, all with him playing the Little Tramp character — clothes either too small or too large, a flimsy cane, stub of a mustache and a walk that's more of a waddle — that would define his silent-screen persona. The shorts include "A Dog's Life" (1918), in which the Tramp finds himself unexpectedly saddled with a lost dog and some stolen loot; "Shoulder Arms" (1918), in which the Tramp finds himself fighting in the trenches during

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World War I
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; and "

Sunnyside

" (1919), in which the Tramp is a hapless farmhand struggling for the attention of the woman he loves.

Future films to be shown include 1921's

"The Kid,"

his first feature-length film (March); 1921's "The Idle Class" (April); "A Woman of Paris," a 1923

drama

Chaplin wrote and directed but does not appear in (May); 1928's "The Circus" (June); 1931's

"City Lights"

(July); 1936's

"Modern Times"

(August); 1940's

"The Great Dictator,"

a parody of Hitler and

Nazi Germany

that was Chaplin's first talkie (September); 1925's

"The Gold Rush"

(October); 1947's "Monsieur Verdoux" (November); 1952's

"Limelight,"

in which his co-stars include one of his few comedic peers,

Buster Keaton

(December); and 1957's "A King in New York" (January).

Showtime

for the Saturday screenings is noon; each program will be repeated the following Monday at 7 p.m. and the following Thursday at 9 p.m. at the theater, 1711 N. Charles St. Call 410-727-FILM (3456) or go to thecharles.com.

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