Could Buster Keaton have starred in Battleship Potemkin?
Did Trotsky plan to write the great Soviet comedy?
And why did Lenin love circus clowns?
The Chaplin Machine reveals the lighter side of the Communist avant-garde and its unlikely passion for American slapstick. Set against the backdrop of the great Russian revolutionary experiment, Owen Hatherley tells the tragic-comedic story of the cinema, art and architecture of the early 20th Century and spotlights the unlikely intersections of East and West.
Owen Hatherley is an architecture and culture critic whose writings have spanned Soviet Constructivism, to the merits of Coventry train station. His acerbic wit and sense for 'place' can be found in the pages of Guardian and Architects Journal. He is the author of numerous books on architecture and culture, including The Chaplin Machine (Pluto Press, 2016), Trans-Europe Express (Penguin, 2017), A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain (Verso, 2010) and Militant Modernism (Zero, 2009).
Introduction, Americanism and Fordism - and Chaplinism 1. Constructing the Chaplin Machine 2. Red Clowns to the Rescue 3. No Rococo Palace for Buster Keaton 4. The Rhythm of Socialist Construction Conclusion: Life is getting jollier, Comrades! Notes Index