Charlie Chaplin in Ceylon with his Brother in 1932: Rare Snaps

Courtesy of

This reference and Item was sent to me by Nuala Thevathasan of Verite Research in Colombo.

Note that Chaplin’s jester-shadow seems to have the capacity to insert itself on the left of each PIX!!


Chaplin uncovered  and a coloured vrsion of the lead photo


Filed under life stories, tourism, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

4 responses to “Charlie Chaplin in Ceylon with his Brother in 1932: Rare Snaps

  1. Tony Donaldson

    Many thanks. Great photo. I didn’t know Chaplin visited the Maligawa. I have photos of him visiting Bali somewhere. He liked to experience life and places and Asia attracted him. He set down his ideas and approaches to being a comedian in an essay titled “Making fun” which was published in 1916 in an art magazine called “The Soil” – which also featured the writings of Arthur Cravan – boxer, poet, Dadaist, and nephew to Oscar Wilde.

    Chaplin was on the Left politically. He was accused of being a Communist by the FBI, snubbed by the Hollywood establishment, though recent MI5 revelations suggest he may have been French, born in Paris, or that he was Russian, though it is not conclusive. He was highly intelligent, even though as a comedian, he was a clown, or “an ass” as he put it, who made his audience think they were superior to him in intelligence. He wrote, “I make people laugh with me as well as at me, but it is a patronizing sympathy”.

    An unusual man, and there are still things we really don’t know about him. Being a clown was a kind of mask to his true thinking and life, which made it possible for him to see the world in ways others couldn’t.

    He wrote the song “Smile”.

    Some of his ideas are particularly relevant today. For instance, he explained the reason why he was being paid $670,000 a year in 1916 wasn’t because he could “amuse the American public alone”, but that the “stuff that makes Americans laugh also makes Chinese laugh, rocking the roof in all sorts of dingy little theatres along the Yang Tse; hits the solemn Jap in his risible section, splits the visage of the Turk in Constantinople and gets the money that the Moujik used to spend on vodka.” His humour had a universal quality that could easily transcend the narrow confines of politics and culture.

  2. As a Chaplin fan for decades, I do appreciate the photo(s) you had provided on his visit to Ceylon. In his 1964 autobiography, Chaplin had failed to record any impressions by casually glossing over with only two sentences. They were,
    “The Japanese captain calmly announced we were arriving at Colombo in the morning. Although Ceylon was an exotic experience, our one desire was to get to Bali and Japan.” (p. 368)

  3. Lynn Ockersz

    Highly interesting. Thanks. Disappearing Burgher surnames is also of great interest.

  4. jean byrne

    It is to be hoped that a modern-day Chaplin can be found to parody our current homicidal maniac Putin as Chaplin did in his film “The Dictator” – a film I haven’t seen but only know of. Perhaps the powers that be could resurrect this film – so apt for our times.

    Thank you for this very interesting article. And the comments which followed were also most interesting.

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