Thursday, November 11, 2010

1923 - A WOMAN OF PARIS, impressive drama from Charlie Chaplin

A sophisticated dramatic film from Charles Chaplin. 

Looking to stretch himself as a filmmaker, Chaplin put his leading lady/lover/girlfriend in a film he didn't appear in and wasn't a comedy.  A Woman of Paris was made as Chaplin was coming off his series of Mutual short films.  Chaplin subtitled the film "a drama of fate" and even put in a disclaimer to the public that he did not appear in it.  The film was not successful which is unfortunate, this is one of his best films. 

Chaplin had a close relationship with his star, Edna Purviance and was looking to launch her as a major leading actor, unfortunately that didn't work out.  Edna Purviance gives a very good performance going from country girl to the mistress of a rich millionaire.  Her acting is somewhat spoiled by some ridiculous head pieces she wears which are a minor distraction.

Incredibly Chaplin filmed A Woman of Paris, without a script, and in sequential order.  What could have been a melodramatic mess of a film is completely redeemed by his skill with the actors and his use of small bits of comedy to temper the melodrama of the film, very effective. 

An impressive film without all the sloppy sentiment that tended to overwhelm his films.  A Woman of Paris is clearly an influence on directors like Ernest Lubitsch, Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock with it's skilled mix of comedy and drama .

One of Chaplin's best films.

93 minutes.

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