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New Book Review: “There are Some Secrets” by Sara Sass


Book: “There are Some Secrets” by Sara Sass - Atmosphere Press 2021

Short biography of E.V. Lucas, an important member of the London Edwardian literary milieu, close friend of J.M. Barrie and publisher of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books, starting with When We Were Very Young when Lucas became chairman of Methuen in 1924. Both Milne and E.H. Shepard, who illustrated the Pooh books, worked at Punch magazine with Lucas, whose idea their collaboration was.

Punch was an English institution, which Chaplin loved. He owned bound volumes of the magazine (now in the library in the Manoir de Ban at Chaplin’s World) and in the early 1950s browsed through them, bookmarking illustrations to show how he wanted the sets for his London Edwardian film Limelight (1952) to look.

E.V Lucas organised a dinner in honour of Chaplin at the Garrick Club in London in autumn 1921. This was Chaplin’s first trip back to London since his departure as a little known theatre performer in 1912. Chaplin wrote in My Trip Abroad:

All those at the dinner were well known in art circles—E. V. Lucas, Walter Hackett, George Frampton, J. M. Barrie, Herbert Hammil, Edward Knoblock, Harry Graham, N. Nicholas, Nicholas D. Davies, Squire Bancroft, and a number of others whose names I do not remember. (..) I am late and that adds to an embarrassment which started as soon as I knew I was to meet Barrie and so many other famous people.

There is Barrie. He is pointed out to me just about the time I recognise him myself. This is my primary reason for coming. To meet Barrie. He is a small man, with a dark moustache and a deeply marked, sad face, with heavily shadowed eyes; but I detect lines of humour lurking around his mouth. Cynical? Not exactly. I catch his eye and make motions for us to sit together, and then find that the party had been planned that way anyhow. There is the inevitable hush for introductions. How I hate it. Names are the bane of my existence. Personalities, that’s the thing.

But everyone seems jovial except Barrie. His eyes look sad and tired. But he brightens as though all along there had been that hidden smile behind the mask. I wonder if they are all friendly toward me, or if I am just the curiosity of the moment.

There is an embarrassing pause, after we have filed into the dining-room, which E. V. Lucas breaks. ‘Gentlemen, be seated.’

I felt almost like a minstrel man and the guests took their seats as simultaneously as though rehearsed for it.

(..) The food is being served and I find that E. V. Lucas has provided a treacle pudding, a particular weakness of mine, to which I do justice.”

At this dinner J. M Barrie, possibly as a joke, invited Chaplin to play the part of Peter Pan. As Chaplin wrote later, “It is too big and grand to risk spoiling it by some chance witless observation, so I change the subject and let this golden opportunity pass.”

In 1920, in THE WORLD’S DESIRE of Adventures and Enthusiasms E.V. Lucas interestingly discusses Chaplin’s potential to make audiences cry as well as laugh, before the comedian himself had actually done so in The Kid in 1921.

Lucas’s difficult family relationships, and his friendships with the literati of the time, are carefully detailed in this new publication by Sara Sass.


The Swiss film archive Lichtspiel / Kinemathek Bern is launching its new archival and historical research project MAPPING ARCHIVAL HOLDINGS OF CHAPLIN’S SHOULDER ARMS (MASh) on April 16 – Charlie Chaplin’s birthday.

The collaborative project aims to locate, identify, and describe all historical film prints of Charlie Chaplin’s wartime comedy SHOULDER ARMS (U.S. 1918) preserved in archives and collections worldwide. For further details, visit the Project MASh website.

Take a tour of Chaplin Studios!

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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2021, 12:00 noon PST

Between 1918 and 1952, Charlie Chaplin made films at his studio at Sunset Blvd. and La Brea in Hollywood. Masterpieces like The Kid, The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times—all made on this site! In 1952, on his way to the UK for the premiere of Limelight, Chaplin, a lifelong British subject, got word that his US re-entry permit had been rescinded. Chaplin became a victim of scurrilous Senator Joe McCarthy’s Red Scare—the FBI branding him as one of ‘Hollywood’s parlor Bolsheviks’—along with other great artists of the time. Chaplin settled in Switzerland where he lived until his death in 1977, returning to the US only once—in 1972 when he accepted an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

On Sunday, February 7, 2021—the 107th anniversary of the debut of Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp character—Kate Guyonvarch, managing director of the Chaplin Office in Paris, will narrate the Chaplin Studio Tour, footage of the abandoned studio shot circa 1953. Recently restored by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in collaboration with the Chaplin Office/Roy Export S.A.S. and Lobster Films, the film shows Chaplin’s cameraman Rollie Totheroh escorting Kathryn Reed (the future wife of Robert Altman) around the studio.

Register now for this FREE online event with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

Online discussion : Charlie Chaplin and the Story of Care

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On Thursday, February 4th, 6pm UK time, you can join Carol Homden, Group Chief Executive of the children’s charity Coram, Kate Guyonvarch of the Chaplin Office and British Film Institute expert Bryony Dixon for an online discussion on Chaplin and the history of care to support Coram. The event will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of THE KID, one of Chaplin’s most personal films, resonating his own childhood experiences.

Book tickets here. Proceeds will go to Coram.

Celebrating 100 Years of THE KID

THE KID had its world premiere one hundred years ago today, on January 21, 1921 at Carnegie Hall in New York City in a pre-public subscription showing as part of a benefit for the Children’s Fund of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. A milestone in his artistry, THE KID was Charles Chaplin’s first full-length film as a director and his most ambitious production to date.

Chaplin created something completely new with THE KID. Films were either dramas, or comedies – but here, as in life, the two were combined in the most natural seeming way. Chaplin wrote in his autobiography that “there had been satire, farce, realism, naturalism, melodrama and fantasy, but raw slapstick and sentiment, the premise of THE KID, was something of an innovation.” He recalled being told by an industry professional, “It won’t work. The form must be pure, either slapstick or drama; you cannot mix them, otherwise one element of your story will fail.” But Chaplin followed his intuition, the film was an instant success, and the cinema industry never looked back.

In February 1921, the Morning Telegraph noted that “THE KID will live when other pictures have died. Its pathos is universal in its appeal. Its humor is classic. Chaplin is a humanitarian. He understands the hearts of the irresponsible, the children and the willing failures of the world. The joys of THE KID cannot be catalogued, they must be seen.”

THE KID is still a hit with audiences 100 years on. It is no surprise that the honorary Academy Award presented to Chaplin in 1972 was for the incalculable effect he had had in making motion pictures the art form of the 20th century. In 2011, THE KID was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

You can learn more on THE KID section of our website, watch some classic clips on our Youtube channel and listen to the soundtrack on Spotify.

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On Chaplin and Kabuki

We’ve just uploaded a new video to our Youtube channel: Japanese Chaplin specialist Ono Hiroyuki talks about KOMORI NO YASUSAN, a Kabuki version of Chaplin’s CITY LIGHTS that was originally performed in August 1931 at Tokyo’s Kabuki Theatre. In December 2019, the National Theatre of Japan revived the show. Mr. Hiroyuki supervised the script and the production.