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A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923)

TV-PG | | Drama, Romance | 4 November 1923 (USA)
A kept woman runs into her one-time fiancé and finds herself torn between love and comfort.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Marie's Step-Father (as Clarence Geldert)
Carl Miller ...
Jean Millet
Lydia Knott ...
Jean's Mother
Charles K. French ...
Jean's Father (as Charles French)
...
Pierre Revel
Betty Morrissey ...
Fifi
Malvina Polo ...
Paulette
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

4 November 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una mujer de París  »

Box Office

Budget:

$351,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1976 release)

Sound Mix:

(1978 re-release)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On New Year's Day 1924, Edna Purviance was at a party with oil tycoon Courtland Dines and Mabel Normand when Normand's chauffeur, "defending Mabel Normand's honor" shot Dines with a gun owned by Normand. Dines refused to testify at the trial, and the chauffeur (Horace Greer, who was an escapee from a chain gang living under an assumed name) was found not guilty. As a result of Purviance's arms-length relationship to this scandal, this film was banned in several US cities. See more »

Quotes

Pierre Revel: The trouble is you don't know what you do want!
Marie St. Clair: I want a real home, babies, and a man's respect.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"… the magic city of Paris, where fortune is fickle and a woman gambles with life."
29 May 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

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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