"Charles Chaplin, Charlie, Charlot, the Tramp, the little man, kiss-kiss, was the most important and dynamic figure in the early days of cinema. In defeat and glory, pathos and aplomb, he was an inspiration to many, ammunition for the rest, and someone who never knew boredom with himself. Indeed, following Chaplin's slapstick career, reading the Autobiography that could have been co-written by Micawber and Heep, is to have the sense of someone watching his own show. Surely that is a clue to filmmaking, direction, or whatever: the ability (or the curse) of being in life while directing the act at the same time." -- David Thomson, The Whole Equation.
The purpose of this post was to applaud that 'Micawber and Heep' quip. But I was unable to stop myself typing out the rest of the paragraph, and I reckon my first reading missed the real insight (and insult): "never knew boredom with himself". That really is worth applauding.
[The Whole Equation, by David Thomson, London, 2004. Celluloid's own John Aubrey turns from biography to history, and proves as blessedly idiosyncratic in his new form. This is a four-chapter verdict; I'll be surprised if I'm less happy at the end.]