A Countess From Hong Kong

Charles Chaplin

T. It.: La Contessa Di Hong Kong; Sog., Scen. E Mu.: Charles Chaplin; F.: Arthur Ibbetson; Mo.: Gordon Hales; Scgf.: Robert Cartwright, Vernon Dixon; Su.: Michael Hopkins; Int.: Marlon Brando (Ogden Mears), Sophia Loren (Natascia Alexandroff), Sydney Chaplin (Harvey Crothers), Tippi Hedren (Martha Mears), Patrick Cargill (Hudson), Margaret Rutherford (Sig.Ra Gaulswallow), Michael Medwin (John Felix), Oliver Johnston (Clark), John Paul (Capitano), Angela Scoular (Ragazzina Della Buona Società), Peter Bartlett (Steward), Bill Nagy (Crawford), Dilys Laye (Commessa), Angela Pringle (Una Baronessa), Jenny Bridge, Maureen Russell (Contesse), Charles Chaplin (Un Vecchio Steward); Prod.: Jerome Epstein Per Universal Pictures E Charles Chaplin Per Chaplin Film Productions Ltd.; Pri. Pro.: Londra, 2 Gennaio 1967; 35mm. L.: 3328 M. D.: 122′. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

“We would do a bad disservice to Chaplin if we continued to see him as that sacred monster trapped by the internal impetus of his own myth. We can thank him for giving us a different occasion and for presenting himself to us, for the last time, in the furtive and amiable guise of a ship’s steward. Countess is at once more burlesque and more realistic than the majority of American comedies, and better than these, succeeds in reconciling incompatible elements. The burlesque seems to derive not from the will of the author, suddenly noticed by the change of register, but from a whim, and by a necessity of the things themselves which, under the effect of an unusual cause, become truly burlesque. Burlesque is the action of a man who is afraid, because fear imposes upon action a rhythm which is out of the ordinary: for instance, in those mad flights that take pla­ce every time the door of the cabin is opened. The excess of the acting is not an effect of style, but the fruit of a contradiction in the human being who, stripping off the social mask which serves him as second nature, suffers in rediscovering himself. All the comedy of Countess lies in the crumbling of the fapade of convenience. The theme is not new, it was even quite in fashion in the time of Capra, but here the truth which hides the daily lie assumes the aspect of false in our eyes which are accustomed to the false. Fear or lubricity take on fantastic, unlikely forms, because, justly, every natural thing is, in our world of artifice, an unlikely thing”.

Eric Rohmer, La comtesse de Hong-Kong (extract), in André Bazin, Eric Rohmer, Charlie Chaplin, Les Éditions du Cerf, Paris, 1972


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