The real Baron Munchausen (yes, there was one) never went to the moon. He did not ride on a cannonball. And he certainly wasn't swallowed by a giant fish. But the 18th-century aristocrat gained a reputation of telling outrageous tales of his military exploits. In 1785, when the Baron was still alive, Rudolf Erich Raspe … Continue reading A Tale of Two Munchausens
Frst After completing The Pilgrim, Charlie Chaplin was finally free of his First National contract. He could now concentrate on making features for United Artists - the company he created with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith. But Chaplin had a problem: Edna Purviance. She'd been his leading lady for eight of his nine … Continue reading Chaplin Diary, Part 11: A Woman of Paris
With The Kid's high acclaim and higher box office numbers, Charlie Chaplin proved that he could successfully make feature-length films. But he still owed First National three pictures, and his partners at United Artists desperately wanted Chaplin movies to release. To please both companies, he would have to make three more shorts before he could … Continue reading Chaplin Diary, Part 10: The Last Shorts
I saw two films yesterday at the San Francisco International Film Festival, also known as the SFFILM Festival. Both were worth seeing. The Other Side of Everything I'm generally suspicious of documentaries about the filmmaker…or the filmmaker's family. But this one worked. Srbijanka Turajlic, the director's mother and the subject of the film, is a … Continue reading Revolution in Serbia & Exploitation in America: My Thursday at SFFILM Festival
As Chaplin's methods slowed down while he chose to make longer films, it was inevitable that a year would come without a single new Chaplin comedy. The first such year was 1920; there would be many others. Everyone wanted him to make more movies. His distributer, First National, had signed him up for eight short … Continue reading Chaplin Diary, Part 9: The Kid
A- Comedic drama Written by Atsuko Hirayanagi, from the short film by Boris Frumin and Atsuko Hirayanagi Directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi In Tokyo, a middle-aged woman lives a life of quiet desperation. Then she attends a class in American English and finds herself attracted to her outgoing and handsome teacher. When the teacher suddenly and … Continue reading California and Japan clash in Oh Lucy!
Charlie Chaplin's contract with First National turned him from an employee to an independent contractor. He built his own studio, hired his own employees, and financed his own films. First National just handled distribution. Chaplin was required to produce eight movies of two reels or more, over the course the 18 months. It took him … Continue reading Chaplin Diary, Part 8: Early First National