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In Hong Kong, the wealthy Ogden Mears is traveling in a transatlantic and is near to be assigned Saudi Arabia Ambassador and is divorcing from his wife Martha. His friend Harvey and he are ... See full summary »
Charlie works on a farm from 4am to late at night. He gets his food on the run (milking a cow into his coffee, holding an chicken over the frying pan to get fried eggs). He loves the ... See full summary »
Olive Ann Alcorn
Marie St. Clair believes she has been jilted by her artist fiance Jean when he fails to meet her at the railway station. She goes off to Paris alone. A year later, mistress of wealthy Pierre Revel, she meets Jean again. Misinterpreting events she bounces back and forth between apparent security and true love. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
" the magic city of Paris, where fortune is fickle and a woman gambles with life."
The second film in my somewhat unusual Charles Chaplin double feature (after the delightfully black 'Monsieur Verdoux (1947)'), 'A Woman of Paris' is perhaps the silent comedy master's least mentioned film, perhaps partly due to it not actually being a comedy, or because Chaplin himself appears only in a very brief cameo role. His first and, I'll venture, his only strictly dramatic feature, the film traces the romantic dilemma of a young French woman living in Paris. It was Chaplin's first film with United Artists which he had founded in 1919 with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith. Originally entitled 'Public Opinion' and then 'Destiny,' Chaplin considered a dozen more titles before he finally settled on a name.
Marie St. Clair (Edna Purviance) and her romance Jean Millet (Clarence Geldart), an aspiring artist, residents of a small French village, have plans to move to Paris and get married. However, unfortunate circumstances delay their plans, and Marie impulsively boards the train without Jean. A year or so later, Marie has assimilated into the upper-class lifestyle of Paris, having become the mistress of a wealthy, cynical businessman, Pierre Revel (Adolphe Menjou). It is then that she and Jean suddenly meet again. Though there are undoubtedly still feelings between them, Marie must decide whether she can sacrifice all of Pierre's luxuries to pursue the man that she loves.
Written, produced and directed by Chaplin, 'A Woman of Paris' is a tightly-paced drama/romance, employing a lot of dialogue (somewhat unusual for Chaplin, who usually relied on extended slapstick comedic set pieces to drive his silent films) and a three-way relationship that has since become commonplace in films of this sort. The film allowed Chaplin to extend his skills beyond the realm of the lovable little Tramp. Unfortunately, this seemingly was not what audiences wanted. Perhaps perceived as a harmful satire of the American way of life, 'A Woman of Paris' was banned in several US states on the grounds of immorality, and it was a commercial flop. Chaplin had conceived the film as a means of launching the individual acting career of Edna Purviance, though this bid was unsuccessful. It did, however, make an international star of Adolphe Menjou.
Many critics, despite the poor box office performance, praised the film's startling realism. Notably, director Michael Powell ('Black Narcissus,' 'Peeping Tom') cited 'A Woman of Paris' as his greatest inspiration to become a filmmaker. In 1976, a frail Charles Chaplin just one year before his death reissued the edited film with a new musical score he had composed, aided by music arranger Eric James. A criminally underrated silent classic, 'A Woman of Paris' is yet another testament to Chaplin's undeniable cinematic genius.
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