Charlie Chaplin (1951)

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X X "A Woman of Paris" "A Woman of Paris/ 7 the straight dramatic picture which Chaplin directed but did not star in, is a milestone in the history of the screen and appears on al- most every list of ten best pictures of all time. It did not matter to Chaplin that it was not a financial success. It fulfilled an old ambition and brought him further pres- tige. "A Woman of Paris" initiated a new school of film art—sophisticated, intimate drama—and exerted a great influence on motion-picture style in general. One day, in the late summer of 1922, when Chaplin was casting about for a subject for his first film for United Artists release, Marshall Neilan rushed into his office to tell him he had Peggy Hopkins Joyce outside in his car. Chaplin, idly fingering his violin, invited them in for a drink. The much-married and bejeweled Peggy gave him a grande dame greeting; but as the drinks took effect, her affected accent dropped away and she became quite natural. Chaplin was fascinated by this woman of the world, a type so removed from his previous loves. For two weeks, which included a trip to Catalina Island, they were inseparable. Then she departed for a New York stage engagement, Peggy with pleasant memories and Chaplin, in addition, with the idea for his next picture. When he announced to his staff that he would not be making a comedy, but a tragedy in which he would not appear, they were dumbfounded. Back in 1915, however, while at Essanay, Chaplin had started the serious film