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Charlie Chaplin: The Forgotten Years (2003)

Charlie Chaplin - Les années suisses (original title)
This documentary about Charlie Chaplin focuses on his late years when he lived with his family in a village on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. His personal life and his love for the circus are ... See full summary »

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This documentary about Charlie Chaplin focuses on his late years when he lived with his family in a village on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. His personal life and his love for the circus are depicted as well as the late works of his professional career, including his extensive work as a composer. In addition, the film reveals the Swiss intelligence agency's file on Chaplin. Features numerous archive clips and new interviews with family members and various entertainment stars, including Petula Clark, who sings her Chaplin-written hit "This Is My Song" in his villa. Written by Peter Brandt Nielsen

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18 May 2003 (France)  »

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Charlie Chaplin - Die Schweizer Jahre  »

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Features A King in New York (1957) See more »

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Worth seeing for his fans...but awfully short.
3 January 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

For huge fans of Charlie Chaplin, this documentary will probably be a disappointment because it attempts to cover about 25 years of the stars later life in under one hour! While these were not the most productive years in his career, trying to cram these decades into such a tiny film seemed sadly incomplete. And, inexplicably, some of what the film emphasized seemed relatively unimportant and other aspects were completely forgotten. For example, the film interviewed circus performers who barely knew Chaplin and yet never mentioned one of his greatest films that came out at about the same time the documentary was set ("Limelight" in 1952) nor did it explore exactly why Chaplin was hounded as a supposed communist. Instead, the film simply seemed to be family members and ordinary folks who knew him being interviewed--no matter how interesting or important their recollections. On the other hand, as this period of time is mostly a cipher (he was 'in exile' in Switzerland--whatever that means!) and at least it gives insight into what he was doing and what he was like in his later years.

My feeling is that this film would be great to watch AFTER seeing a more detailed documentary about his earlier years--warts and all (such as his penchant for very young women). Seeing "The Forgotten Years" AFTER Kevin Brownlow's fantastic "Unknown Chaplin" would be perfect. Chaplin was a truly gifted genius, but a three dimensional one with foibles and eccentricities--that is the sort of documentary I really want to see.


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