Chaplin without Charlie
January 17 - 23
An actor/director whose films centered resonantly on his own persona (usually the iconic Little Tramp character), Charles Chaplin made two films in which he appears only in brief cameo roles. They are among his most adventurous and offbeat works, although both encountered resistance from critics and public. His silent feature A WOMAN OF PARIS has since been widely acclaimed as a landmark of sophisticated comedy. His final film A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG, presented in a new 4K digital restoration, still awaits the reevaluation and recognition that a growing number of critics think it deserves. (MR)
Buy a ticket at our regular prices for either A WOMAN OF PARIS or A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG, and get a ticket for any show of the other film at this discount rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount price applies to the second film only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)
A Woman of Paris
1923, Charles Chaplin, USA, 82 min.
With Edna Purviance, Adolphe Menjou
Chaplin doesn't appear (save for a brief cameo) in this daring, fascinating film, which he describes as "the first serious drama written and directed by myself." But it's more complicated and dazzling than that: a sophisticated Lubitschian (before Lubitsch himself was Lubitschian!) comedy of manners, book-ended by a deceptively melodramatic opening and a startling, morally complex ending. A village girl (Purviance) is driven by romantic disappointment to Paris, where she becomes the toast of the town, desired by a bon vivant (Menjou) and an earnest artist (Carl Miller). Michael Powell, one of the many filmmakers inspired by this film, said of it, "Suddenly the whole medium grew up." Silent film with synchronized music score. 35mm. (MR)
A Countess from Hong Kong
1967, Charles Chaplin, UK, 108 min.
With Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren
"One of the strongest films of Chaplin's career."—Donna Kornhaber, Charlie Chaplin, Director
"If you ever liked Chaplin, you will probably like A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG. It is the quintessence of everything Chaplin has ever felt."—Andrew Sarris, Village Voice
Chaplin's final film was greeted with an onslaught of hostility and disappointment that baffled the 70-year-old filmmaker, who until the end of his days considered it one of his very best movies, equaled only, perhaps, by CITY LIGHTS. Originally conceived in the late 1930s, the story concerns an uptight American diplomat (Brando) who finds a refugee Russian prostitute (Loren) stowing away in his shipboard cabin. The film's defenders see it as a visually expert slamming-doors farce deepened by undertones of skepticism, despair, and Chaplin's self-reflexive critique of his own previous work. Chaplin himself berated critics for misjudging Brando's performance ("'Brando is wooden'—but that's just the whole point!") and the film's tone ("It's a very sad story"). U.S. premiere of new 4K DCP digital restoration. (MR)
The film's most eloquent defenders have included Harvard student (and future film director) Tim Hunter and film scholar Donna Kornhaber, author of the excellent book Charlie Chaplin, Director. You can read Hunter's defense in this link and Kornhaber's in this link