From the Tramp films, created by and starring Charlie Chaplin
Nominated by Mark Levine
Well, obviously Chaplin was English, but his Little Tramp character was an incredibly endearing figure that, to me at least, has become one of the icons of an American era.
Personally, I enjoyed the mix of the quiet resolve, romantic idealism, and quirky humor/creativity. The Tramp always seems so fragile, but insanely determined and devoted.
I'm not so convinced that we learn much, as it is that we probably feel more from observing the Tramp. Something maybe Stephen Colbert would pick up on. The Tramp speaks to our gut, not our brain.
NPR's film critic agrees: Our In Character plans call for Bob Mondello to contribute a radio piece on The Little Tramp.