Charlie Chaplin (1951)

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cc 176 No matter what it may look like today, the importance of "A Woman in Paris" in motion-picture history is un- questionable. It takes a place among the landmarks of the screen along with "The Birth of a Nation," "Intoler- ance," "Broken Blossoms," "Greed," 'The Last Laugh," "Potemkin," "The Passion of Joan of Arc," "The In- former," "Citizen Kane," "The Bicycle Thief," and other greats. And in Carol Reed's "The Third Man," one of the biggest hits of 1949-1950, a different type of film alto- gether, we find three scenes which trace back, directly or indirectly, to this pioneer Chaplin classic. The opening scene is "a small village somewhere in France," at night. A girl is seen waiting at an upper lighted window of a stone house. Dissolve to a medium shot, then to a closer shot of "Marie St. Clair, a woman of fate, a victim of the environment of an unhappy home." Her father, out in the hall, turns on the gas light, peers into her room, then locks the door. To her art-student sweetheart Jean, who has arrived in the street below, she cries down, "I'm locked in!" He climbs up to her window over the sloping roof and helps her down. The father, seeing them, locks the window and bars the front door. Midnight. The couple return. In the cold night air, they finish discussion of their plans. "We'll get to Plymouth and be married." They kiss and Jean helps Marie climb back. "He's locked my window!" They also find the door barred. Jean knocks and the father slams the door after telling Marie, "Perhaps he will provide a bed for you for the night. Jean comforts her. "Mother will put you up for the night." They walk through the drizzling rain to his par- ents' house. In the hall Marie hesitates. Jean reassures her. "Don't worry. Tomorrow we'll forget all these tears."