Genre: Drama "Comedy"
Starring: Charlie Chaplin (Gold Rush; The Great Dictator), Claire Bloom (The Haunting)
Directed By: Charlie Chaplin (The Kid; Modern Times)
Overview: When an aging comic saves a young ballerina from suicide and takes her in, the tale turns to one of passing the torch of theater along to the next generation.
Acting: It is truly a gift to have an actress be able to believably portray electrocution. The unfortunate thing, however, is that in no scene is she actually BEING electrocuted. Claire Bloom has got the be the sorriest example of modern melodramatic ham acting that I've ever seen in my life. It's almost not fair, given that her director was obviously tainted by the silent era and the need for overemphasis. Chaplin himself however, doesn't let her take all the blame, since his character is a gitchy unfunny fop.
Cinematography: When I popped this into my DVD player, I saw a crisp and professional shot of a street, a camera following a drunken man to his door. I was impressed... to the point that I didn't believe this was a film made in 1919, as the DVD said it was. Also the talking gave it away, go fig. All this to say that yes, many of the sets are elaborate, the camerawork is good and whatever, I still hated the movie.
Script: Oh Chaplin, what wonderful scripts you write, of an old man who likes to hear himself talk and ramble on and on about life lessons of happiness and youth. Oh, what sweetness lies in the knowledge that is the droning banality that I can expect from every old person who thinks they have something to share, like you, just because they had their 15 minutes. Nothing makes a film worth lengthening like an old fart talking about the past, expect maybe, a young couple talking about how they love each other, but don't love each other, but do.
Plot: What is worse than someone reliving his days as a funny tramp? Only the fact that every single Chaplin stage performance in this film is an exercise in pity. You know when you watch a show, and you are embarrassed for the actors? Not exactly a good time. Oh but wait, the rest of this film is tragic irony and pathetic subtext. I get it Chaplin, you're the old guy who was once a Tramp Comic. Geez, I hardly caught the metaphor. What's worse is that YOU'RE the one whose not funny, and THIS is the penultimate movie you ever made. I hate you for dragging Buster Keaton down with you, Jesus!
Mood: The moments where our tramp is on stage, singing a song or doing that god-awful flea-circus act (twice!) are meant to be 'his heyday', back in the days when he was funny, when he was the hottest thing in town. Embarrassing. I can't believe he won an Oscar for the musical score of this film. All of Hollywood must have been high. The entire story is some ugly rehash of the worst film of its era. I DON'T CARE. A point for make-up and sets... there... enjoy.
Overall Rating: 32% (Never Put Lime In Your Eyes)
Aftertaste: The only reason I rented this is because of the year it was supposedly filmed in, 1919. I was expecting our good Old Tramp Chaplin in a bunch of silent shorts, but it turns out that he ended up doing this one well into his sixties: a talkie cursed with the kind of crap your mom watched on public television on a sunday afternoon. I think I strained myself rolling my eyes so much. What a pathetic display. Know when to QUIT!