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The Unknown Chaplin DVD October 2005


The BFI is actually planning to release the {{Unknown Chaplin in DVD}} : the classic documentary series by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill

Discovering films by Chaplin never before seen in public was, according to film historian Kevin Brownlow, “the equivalent of finding long-lost sketchbooks by Rembrandt”.

{{The Unknown Chaplin}} uses these films to give a unique insight into Chaplin the filmmaker rather than Chaplin the myth, showing his genius at work. Kevin Brownlow’s and David Gill’s studies of leading film-makers have set new standards of research and accessibility and helped create fresh interest in the pioneers of cinema.

{{“Chaplin, the perfectionist, the dervish on set, has a haunting melancholy beauty about him”}} {Daily Express}

{{“Kevin Brownlow and David Gill are detectives of the first order, the Holmes and Watson of the silent cinema. Their clues: fragile strips of celluloid. Their solutions: terrific reconstructions of silent films.”}} {USA Today}

{{“For nearly three hours we are privileged to see the greatest comic mind at work”}} {The Times}


Chaplin Museum


The Chaplin family’s Swiss residence from 1953 onwards (The Manoir de Ban Corsier sur Vevey Switzerland) is to become a “Chaplin Museum”:http://www.chaplinmuseum.com. Planning permission is being finalised, and hopefully the work will begin as soon as possible…


The Charles Chaplin Conference London July 2005


The British Film Institute, in conjunction with the University of Southampton, will be holding a major conference in the summer of 2005 on the work and worldwide cultural influence of Charles Chaplin. This will coincide with the establishment of the BFI’s Charlie Chaplin Research Foundation which is designed to foster innovative research in relation to Chaplin and his contemporaries.

The emphasis will be on dialogue and the bringing together of archivists, researchers and scholars from a wide range of disciplines for the representation of papers and symposia to reassess Chaplin’s impact and influence on film and the arts and modern culture.

  • Date of the conference: July 21-24, 2005

Questions about the conference can be submitted to:


Theatrical Release of Monsieur Verdoux - Paris June 2005


  • To coincide with the opening of the Chaplin in Pictures exhibition at the Jeu de Paume museum, MK2 has decided to release “Monsieur Verdoux”:/en/articles/8 theatrically at MK2 Hautefeuille in Paris.

  • Sortie en salle à Paris au “MK2 Hautefeuille”:http://www.mk2.com/new/salles/touteslessalles.asp le 8 Juin de “Monsieur Verdoux” coincidant avec l’exposition du Jeu de Paumes.

“MK2 Hautefeuille”:http://www.mk2.com/new/salles/touteslessalles.asp
7 rue Hautefeuille 75006 Paris
Station Odeon
Tous les dimanches / horaire: 11h10


The Restoration of a Woman of Paris Score


By Timothy Brock, June 2005

The dilemma of the 1977 version of the score to “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 is a complex one, and for me, a source of mixed feelings. On behalf of the Chaplin estate, and of behalf of the composer himself, the primary objective has always been to restore the Chaplin scores as close (as I can come) to how Chaplin [would have] heard them himself. In the case of “Modern Times”:/en/articles/6 it was a painstaking 14 months of solid meticulous work, and “City Lights”:/en/articles/4 and “The Circus”:/en/articles/1 being much the same. However for “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 my 8th score restoration for the Chaplins, the goal was the same, but more than few educated guesses and well-thought-out liberties had to be taken. This was a very different kind of restoration.

When preparations for the re-release of “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 were being made in 1976, Chaplin’s health was in full decline. He had had a stroke and it was only with great effort he had managed to complete the work required of him. Like the other re-issues up to this time, “The Circus”:/en/articles/1 “The Kid”:/en/articles/3 Sunnyside, Pay Day, The Idle Class, and A Day’s Pleasure, Chaplin had composed music (with the [help] assistance of Eric James) for them all. 226 minutes of fully orchestrated scores in 6 years time, from the composer’s age of 81 to 87. But for “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 the last film to be re-released, Chaplin’s health had deteriorated rather significantly, and due to the efforts of James and others, a “Chaplin” score had been created by means of using some previously un-used compositions and by James emulation of the Chaplin style, [with whom he had had been working [] for some 18 years]. OR which he knew well after some 18 years of working with him. ?

The 1977 score suffers primarily from one simple fact: the lack of material. One can only speculate that James, not wanting to “ghost write” a score in the name of Chaplin, used what little he had been given by Chaplin at age 87, and therefore tried to stretch the material over the course of 82 minutes. [And] Moreover the available un-heard compositions that James brought out were originally written for comedies, and were most likely difficult to convert to dramatic situations. Equally the orchestration by Eric Rogers, perhaps not as familiar with the Chaplin technique [as one would hope]?as Eric James? , did not follow the stylistic guidelines established by previously published trademark-Chaplin scores.

All of these understandable reasons, among others, were contributing factors to a not-all-together successful score. And although dozens of festivals over the last 30 years had expressed desire to exhibit “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 many were reluctant. However, as it holds true for all Chaplin films, one must abide by the credo that testifies to the complete art that is a Chaplin film. It must be his music and nobody else.

Enter 2003.[ The family had discovered] The Association Chaplin transferred to CD for preservation a series of over 19 hours of miraculous home and studio recordings. Dating back as early as 1951, these recordings are of Chaplin composing music on the piano, which he subsequently gave to his musical associates later to transcribe onto paper. A large portion of these recordings are devoted to music he was composing for “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 (however one can hear the budding musical themes of not only “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 but also later recordings he made composing “The Kid”:/en/articles/3 The Pilgrim and “The Circus”:/en/articles/1 .

The music Chaplin composed here, in the year 1951, is really the young composer at work, and these amazing recordings reflect that creative energy and vitality in his music that somehow always come through in his films. Yet Chaplin had composed so much music for “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 that, due to one reason or another, much of it had been left out of the final cut. And along with “Modern Times”:/en/articles/6 “The Great Dictator”:/en/articles/13 and “Monsieur Verdoux”:/en/articles/8 there are stacks of rejected musical material from “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 in the archives in Montreux. But, curiously, almost none of the unused portions of “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 on these recordings exist anywhere on paper. So from these early recordings, I established and transcribed the “unknown” compositions onto paper, totaling about 14 complete compositions, and 20 or more incomplete or nearly complete ones.

This, perhaps, was the answer. Music written while he was still at the peak of his composing abilities, music for his ONLY other serious dramatic feature, and music completely un-heard by the public before.

So in co-operation with the Chaplin family, I carefully proceeded to create a new score for “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 by using both the recently un-earthed dramatic, exciting compositions of 1951, and reconfiguring some of the existing themes from the 1977 score, but more in the manner of previous Chaplin treatments of his own material. The orchestration model I used was an exact duplication of the forces for “City Lights”:/en/articles/4 flute (piccolo), oboe (cor anglais), 3 clarinets, 3 saxophones, bassoon, 2 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, percussion, harp, piano (celesta) and strings, with the exception of the banjo, but with the addition of accordion (as in The Pilgrim).

This experiment, I earnestly hope, will prove a worthy companion to “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 which has for so long gone without proper musical support. Although Chaplin could not have foreseen the difficulty which arose from the score during the last year of his life, I do hope it would be to his liking if he were here today. After all, that has always been the ultimate goal.


The Film and Entertainment auction London December 2004


Chaplin items from Maurice Bessy’s collection will be offered in the forthcoming Film and Entertainment Christie auction on Tuesday 14 December 2004 at 2pm at Christie South Kensington, London.

Viewing Times :
* Sunday 12 December 1pm-4pm * Monday 13 December 9am-7.30pm * Tuesday 14 December 9am-12 noon

Various Chaplin items will be available such as a rare prop moustache from Chaplin’s famous Tramp costume ( estimate: ?3,000-?5,000); his cane from “Modern Times”:/en/articles/6 (Estimate:?8,000-?12,000); his truncheon from Easy Street and his whistle from “City Lights”:/en/articles/4 (estimate ? 1,500-?2,500)

The catalogue for the auction is about to be produced and will be available shortly.

For more information: see http://www.christies.com


Coffret Courts métrages


French release only. Available in France on 8th December 2004. Same films already released in USA under title: “The Chaplin Revue” distributed by “Warner”:http://www2.warnerbros.com/charliechaplin

Un coffret réunissant une sélection de 4 courts-métrages parmi les meilleurs de Charles Chaplin (Charlot et le masque de fer, Jour de paye, Une idylle aux champs, Une journée de plaisir) ainsi que la célebre série Chaplin Revue. Disponible à partir du 8 décembre chez “MK2 BOUTIQUE”:http://boutique.mk2.com/boutique/fiche_video.aspx?id_pdt=467&mId=1235463