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Timothy Brock on Restoring Charlie Chaplin’s Sound

CC with Abe Lyman Orchestra circa 1925

Chaplin’s archive does contain the entire, full, orchestrated scores. But Chaplin, as a filmmaker, was making changes all the time, sort of trial and error, and he was that way as a composer as well. He would compose a piece of music, they would make a short score of it and orchestrate it, and he would sit down with the orchestrator and tell him what to do. They’d make a full score, they’d make parts for the forty to sixty musicians, and then they would listen to it, and he’d go, “Hmm, no, I don’t like that, let’s have the oboe do this line instead, on trumpet here . . .” So players were writing stuff down all the time, because he was dictating the changes he was listening to. All of those changes were done on the parts, or on pieces of paper they attached to the parts. I found music for Modern Times on the back of laundry receipts and paper menus and things like that, whatever scraps of paper players could find at the last moment and write down some notes. - Timothy Brock

Read more about the delicate process of restoring Charlie Chaplin’s music in a new interview of Timothy Brock on Criterion’s website.

The Great Dictator at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

The Great Dictator will be screened this evening at 9:30 pm at the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéma de la Plage.

Speaking of Chaplin and Cannes, here’s a video from the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, when Charlie Chaplin was honored with the title of “Commander of the national order of the Legion of Honor”:

French TV documentary "Le monde selon Chaplin"

france2 The French TV program “13h15 le samedi” was allowed access by the Chaplin family to their home movies filmed by Oona Chaplin. Three of Charlie Chaplin’s children, Annie, Eugene and Michael, and one of his grandsons, Charly Sistovaris, share their thoughts and memories. They talk of Charlie Chaplin, the working man, but also the family man. And they talk of their home, the Manoir de Ban, now a museum open to all

This documentary by Karine Comazzi, Frédéric Capron, Patrice Brugère and Oktay Sengul offers wonderful insights into the Manoir de Ban, former family home, now Chaplin’s World.

The documentary can be viewed in French here.