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#032 Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times vs. A Countess from Hong Kong

Download MP3 In today's episode Nate and Austin compare Charlie Chaplin's best and worst rated films, Modern Times (1936) and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), respectively. Nate continues to get off topic every five minutes, Austin won't stop coughing, and they're both ageist. Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Damien Chazelle's Whiplash (2014) and Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009), his best and worst rated films.
Also check out this clip from Buster Keaton's The Cameraman where they show off some innovative cinematography:

A Countess from Hong Kong Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Natascha, a White Russian countess, stows away on a luxury liner at Hong Kong, determined to seek a new life in America. Natascha hides in the cabin of Ogden Mears, a millionaire diplomat, thereby causing an endless stream of misunderstandings and complications.
  • Ratings: IMDb 6.1 | RT 60% C / 43% A
  • Released: 1967
  • Director: Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator, City Lights)
  • Writer(s): Charlie Chaplin
  • Cinematographer: Arthur Ibbetson (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory)
  • Notable actors: Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Sydney Chaplin, Tippi Hedren
  • Budget: $3.5 million
  • Box office: $1.1 million (domestic)
  • Fun Facts:
    • Sophia Loren did not get along with Marlon Brando during shooting, especially after the day they were doing a love scene and he commented, "Did you know you have black hairs up your nostrils?"
    • While Marlon Brando had always greatly admired Charles Chaplin's work and looked upon him as "probably the most talented man the [movie] medium has ever produced," the two superstars did not get along during the shooting of this movie. In his autobiography, Brando described Chaplin as "probably the most sadistic man I'd ever met." Chaplin, on his side, said that working with Brando simply was "impossible."
    • During filming in 1966 at England's Pinewood Studios, the 77-year-old Charles Chaplin was walking around outside discussing ideas when his foot got caught in a grate and he broke his ankle. It was the first serious injury he ever sustained.
    • The first film by Charles Chaplin to not only be in widescreen (which he disliked; see A King in New York (1957)), but in color as well.

Modern Times Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.
  • Ratings: IMDb 8.6 | RT 100% C / 95% A
  • Released: 1936
  • Director: Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator, City Lights)
  • Writer(s): Charlie Chaplin
  • Cinematographer: Ira H. Morgan and Roland Tetheroh (The Great Dictator, City Lights)
  • Notable actors: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard
  • Budget: $1.5 million
  • Box office: $1.4 million (domestic)
  • Fun Facts:
    • Discounting later parodies and novelty films, this was the last major American film to make use of silent film conventions, such as title cards for dialogue. The very last dialogue title card of this film (and thus, it can be said, the entire silent era) belongs to The Tramp, who says "Buck up - never say die! We'll get along."
    • Charles Chaplin allows the Tramp to speak on camera for the first time during the restaurant scene, but insisted that what the Tramp says be universal. Therefore, the song the Tramp sings is in gibberish, but it is possible to follow the story he tells by watching his hand gestures.
    • Charles Chaplin devoted eight days to filming the department store roller-skating scene where he skates blindfolded on the edge of the fourth floor, coming within inches of falling over the edge into the deep stairwell below. The dangerous large drop was actually a painted scene on a pane of glass carefully placed in front of the camera to align with the existing set and create the illusion of great height.

  Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down - Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0  

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