Charles Chaplin

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A Countess From Hong Kong Review


Good
Not to be confused with The Lady from Shanghai, this is best known as Charlie Chaplin's first film shot in color (as a director), his film with the largest budget, and the last movie he both directed and appeared in (in a cameo that's easy to miss). The story is vintage Chaplin -- a wealthy Russian countess stows away on a cruise ship to escape Hong Kong and winds up in a politician's suite; naturally they fall in love -- but everything else about it feels a bit strange. For starters: Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren in a Chaplin farce? Surprisingly, they both acquit themselves well here, but the repetitive story (with Loren repeatedly running to hide in Brando's bathroom when there's a knock on the door) gets tiresome.

City Lights Review


Excellent
Widely considered Chaplin's best film (or at least close to the best), this simple and sweet story has the beloved tramp going to outrageous lengths to raise money for a blind girl's "miracle cure." But he's just a tramp -- will she still love him when she can see him for what he truly is? There's the rub, and Chaplin reminds us of it despite the endless, goofy scenarios the tramp encounters en route to the touching finale.

The Kid (1921) Review


Excellent
Very precious Chaplin film -- the first he directed, produced, wrote, and starred in. The story's simple: The tramp adopts an orphaned baby; at first he learns parenting the trial-by-fire way. Years later he's schooling the kid in the finer points of being a hobo. All good, clean, family fun -- and a huge hit for Chaplin in 1921. Lots of very clever touches can be found in this brief film, and it stands up well today.
Charles Chaplin

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