A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) was Charlie Chaplin’s final film and one of only two that he directed but in which he did not star. It received, almost without exception, terrible reviews. Yet in Chaplin’s own opinion, it was one of the most accomplished works of his career—“the best thing I’ve done,” as he told The Sunday Times. In some interviews, Chaplin compares it directly to City Lights (1931) and implies that it may even exceed the achievements of that film. He was downright puzzled by the critical response, but he remained convinced that the critics were missing something important. “At first, when I read the reviews I wondered. Then I went again [to see it] the next day, and regained all my confidence. Soon they’ll come to their senses,” he recounted. —Rereading A Countess from Hong Kong: Action, Speech, and Style in Charlie Chaplin’s Final Feature
Here’s a rare, behind the scenes with Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren, told entirely in stills, courtesy of Huntley Film Archives.
Unknown Chaplin with TONS of lost footage and discarded scenes, “an acclaimed three-part 1983 British documentary series about the career and methods of the silent film luminary Charles Chaplin, using previously unseen film for illustration. The film was directed and written by film historians Kevin Brownlow and David Gill.”
It’s only 32 pages long but Chaplin: Clown and Genius–A Tribute to Charlie is the finest tribute I have read about one of four of the greatest comedians the world has known. Published in 1978 by World Distributors (Manchester) Ltd, this little-long book contains only three chapters—The Early Years, Exit the Clown and The Final Curtain—and is interspersed with large, and some rare, black-and-white photographs that trace Chaplin’s hugely successful cinematic journey from pre-WWI to post-WWII. Chaplin: Clown and Genius appears to be out of stock. Amazon and eBay don’t have it. I do, picked it up for $1 from a roadside bookseller in Bombay, and it’s not for sale. One must hold on to the clowns and geniuses in one’s life. –Clown and Genius
Here are even more great reads; the books are available for free from the Internet Archive.