Charlie Chaplin (1951)

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"A Woman of Paris" 173 ing much with subtle suggestion, the film provided a post-graduate course in screen technique for directors and producers. One celebrated bit is the scene where Marie leaves the small station waiting room to entrain for Paris. As she looks up, the reflections from the lighted windows of the train pass over her and along the wall behind her. The train itself is not shown. This device has been so often imitated since that it is now a cliche ab- sorbed into the general body of cinematic technique. But in 1923 this approach was breathtaking. Considerable use is made of ellipsis or abridgment in time and action—the skipping over of unessential details. Marie is shown, following the misunderstanding with her lover, as a wealthy bachelor's mistress. The circumstances involved in her transformation from a simple country girl to an elaborately gowned "woman of Paris" are left entirely to the beholder's imagination. Again, toward the end of the picture, the former lover is shown in the lobby of the cafe after he has been ejected for picking a quarrel with Marie's escort. We do not see him shoot himself, but the cafe crowd reacts to a "shot," then we see a man falling into a fountain. Applications of this device have been innumerable, particularly in the talkies where sound can readily suggest off-stage action. Typical subtle touches are achieved by the use of ob- jects—handkerchiefs, collars, chocolate candy, musical in- struments. When Pierre visits Marie's apartment, their relationship is clearly established when he goes to her bureau drawer for one of his handkerchiefs. Later the relationship is made clear to her artist admirer when, picking out a dress for Marie to pose in, one of Pierre's collars falls to the floor as a gown is lifted out. Thus cen- sorship was neatly sidestepped. The picture's restraint and casualness are vivid in the scene where Pierre discovers Marie with her artist friend. None of the customary frenzied gestures or furniture-