Charlie Chaplin (1951)

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cc 118 how he discovered her to be blind. Chaplin would screen the scene for friends or visiting correspondents and ask them what they saw. If something did not get across clearly, he would groan and reshoot it. Directorial methods vary. In marked contrast was the working method of King Vidor in the silent era, Two of the outstanding scenes in "The Big Parade" (the touch- ing shellhole scene where John Gilbert encounters the dying German soldier and the delightful scene where he teaches Renee Adoree to chew gum) were shot once with- out even a rehearsal! Of course, in the silent days, it was possible to shout instructions to the actor while the cam- era turned. But even so, these two scenes, noted for their spontaneity and naturalness, had rather complicated bus- iness and each was about five minutes in length. In the talkie era the late W. S. Van Dyke was known as a "one take" director; but he usually handled experienced actors repeating their familiar characterizations. Methods vary. There are the perfectionist directors like Chaplin, Griffith, Lubitsch, and von Stroheim, who impress their own personalities on the actors. There are the others who, because their personality jibes with the picture being made, are able to keep actors in the proper mood. And there are those who merely yell "Action!" "Camera!" and "Cut!" For his short, eighteen-hundred-feet comedies, Chaplin thought nothing of shooting from thirty to ninety thou- sand feet of film. For his features he often shot half a million feet to get eight reels. His shorts took much longer than was then customary and many of his features were a year or more in the making. Only the world-wide popularity of his pictures permitted such extravagance. Before shooting a picture, or sometimes in the midst of one, Chaplin could go off for a few days' peaceful fish- ing at Catalina Island and mull over ideas. On his return he could confer with his little "clique," Al Reeves, his