2 March 2015

A Woman in Paris

A Woman of Paris 1923
Director: Charlie Chaplin
  • Based on novel: no
  • Cast: Edna Purviance, Carl Miller, Lydia Knott, Adolphe Menjou, Malvina Polo
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Edna Purviance  The Kid
    • Adolphe Menjou – Pollyanna, Paths of Glory
  • Why?  Chaplin
  • Seen:  February 28, 2015
Charlie Chaplin declares from the start that he isn’t in the film. He’s written it and directed it.
Tragedy and misunderstanding separate two young lovers in France in the 1920’s and Marie ends up in Paris alone. She is dazzled by the luxurious night life and becomes the mistress of a wealthy man. A year passes.
What starts out as an intriguing melodrama turns into some very long sequences – at a restaurant, in Marie’s luxury apartment, wild parties.  They are far from uninteresting but not from the perspective of the story, only visually and cinematically. Which is good.
Marie chances to meet her old lover Jean and she’s torn between continued luxury and marriage.
It’s an odd little film. It ends in tragedy and platitudes and it’s hard to care about the lovers. But there is a wealth of good character acting in the supporting cast – all done without speaking lines. The black and white filming is beautiful, the Roaring Twenties costumes fantastic. There is whimsical humour in the shape of a miniature saxophone, used by one of the characters as an ashtray, and a silly dog, for example.
There are so many wonderful details that it doesn’t matter that the story limps along to its meant-to-be -poignant ending.
I enjoy the film very much.

3 * of 5

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