Natascha, a White Russian countess, stows away on a luxury liner at Hong Kong, determined to seek a new life in America. Natascha hides in the cabin of Ogden Mears, a millionaire diplomat, ... See full summary »
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Natascha, a White Russian countess, stows away on a luxury liner at Hong Kong, determined to seek a new life in America. Natascha hides in the cabin of Ogden Mears, a millionaire diplomat, thereby causing an endless stream of misunderstandings and complications; particularly when his wife, Martha, joins the trip at Honolulu, necessitating a 'marriage' to Ogden's valet, Hudson, a saronged-dive overboard and more subterfuge on the part of Ogdon and his associate, Harvey. Written by
alfiehitchie & tipsyheadrinse
Patrick Cargill was cast as Hudson only after a number of big-name UK performers had passed on the role. See more »
Toward the end of the film Ogden, Natascha, Harvey and Martha sit around a restaurant table. Ogden and Natascha sit with their backs to the camera and very far from each other so they won't obscure Harvey and Martha at the other side of the table. When they get up to dance, the camera cuts to a close up of Ogden and Natascha which are suddenly almost touching shoulders. See more »
Chaplin's last picture is a film with many faults, yet it's not as bad as often claimed. I've seen it many times myself. Here is my opinion of it:
One of the most important flaws is the miscasting of Brando. He seems ill at ease. Thus Loren has to carry the film virtually alone. The whole structure of 'Countess' is not well balanced. There's too much simple visual comedy for a romantic comedy, and vice versa. The plot is thin (It's supposed to be simplistic). Also, the score is at times muddled as previously introduced dramatic themes come and go without any reason (see and hear Hedren's first appearance.) The film is also a bit overlong.
The good things: There are points when the music is up to Chaplin's usually high standards (Cargill's comedy scene, storm theme). Cameo appearances are nice. Direction is more focused and production values are certainly superior to A King in N.Y. Yes, I believe, that what is often described as Chaplin's 'flat' direction due to a lack of skill is an artistic style by choice. Simpleness is not the same as unskilfulness. For instance, during the dance scenes, the camera movement following actors is subtle and economically made. You'll notice it if you watch them in fast-forward.
And if one may feel disappointed at the film on the whole, there's at least a very beautiful, poignant and simple ending that is in my opinion the best of any Chaplin film I've seen. Its every element is in place.
Therefore it's a rather mixed bag of a movie, most suitable for Chaplin fans and very interesting as a curio, at least.
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