A Countess from Hong Kong
by Charles Chaplin




FOREIGN TITLES & RELEASE DATES

UK (London) - January 2, 1967 - A Countess from Hong Kong - 121'
France (Paris) - January 13, 1967 - La comtesse de Hong-Kong -
Italy - January 31, 1967- La contessa di Hong Kong -
West Germany - February 10, 1967 - Die Gräfin von Hongkong -
USA (New York, Radio City Music Hall) - March 15, 1967 - A Countess from Hong Kong - 108'
Spain (Madrid, Cine Palafox) - March 26, 1967 - La condesa de Hong Kong - 120' (attendance: 2,106,806)



Spanish poster French poster American poster German poster


PLOT

In Hong Kong an American diplomat is enjoying himself in a nightclub before leaving on a transatlantic liner bound for the United States. Among the young women in his company is a Russian fugitive, Natasha who, though of noble origins, is forced to make her living as a nightclub hostess. The next day, on board the ship, Ogden finds the girl hidden in his cabin; she threatens to accuse him of having abducted her if he denounces her as a stowaway. As the days pass Ogden begins to fall in love with the beautiful Natasha, but he does not want to give up his career and his marriage. He therefore proposes to the girl and to the steward that they have the ship’s captain marry them, 50 that she can obtain an American passport, and then they can get a divorce. When the ship comes docks in Hawaii, Ogden is joined by his legitimate wife, but faced with the conventional life which awaits him, he prefers to give it ail up and stay with Natasha forever. (Enrico Lancia)
Story and screenplay: Charles Chaplin
.


FILMING LOCATIONS

Pinewood Studios, Iver (England)

January through April 1966
Shooting begins at the Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, without co-star Marlon Brando who calls in sick after spending weeks partying in London. Filming is delayed several times with Sophia getting married and presiding the Cannes Festival while and with Brando hospitalized for a twisted intestine.


MAIN CAST

Marlon Brando (Ogden Mears)
Sophia Loren (Natasha)
Sydney Chaplin (Harvey Crothers)
Tippi Hedren (Martha)


CREDITS

Photography (Technicolor):
Arthur Ibbetson
Music:
Charles Chaplin
Song:
This Is My Song, written by Charles Chaplin and performed by Petula Clark
Sophia's Costume design:

Christian Dior and Marc Bohan
Hair Stylist:
Helen Penfold
Still photographers:

Tazio Secchiaroli, Alfred Eisenstaedt
Sophia's voice is dubbed by:
Rita Savagnone (Italian), Elsa Fábregas (Spanish), Marion Degler (German)
Production:

Jerome Epstein for Universal International


NOTES

Charles Chaplin's final acting appearance in a cameo a la Hitchcock as ship's steward. He experiences his first serious injury on the set as he is walking around when his foot gets caught in a grate.

A Countess from Hong Kong is very negatively received by the critics and becomes a commercial and financial flop.

At the world premiere in London, the film being shown before had been using a special spherical lens. The projectionist had forgotten to take it off for the 35mm print.. The result was a distorted spherical image. The critics instantly blamed it on Chaplin's tired directing techniques. This was obviously not the case, but the film still did badly at the box office and Chaplin himself went into deep depression.

After shooting a love scene
Brando approaches Sophia asking her, "Did you know that you have hairs up your nostrils?""

When Sophia comes on the set in her Dior slip dress Chaplin would have said, "Never has so much been poured into so little, If only I were 60 again"


QUOTES AND REVIEWS 

"Our Sophia has evidently accepted with the most devoted dedication every ironic suggestion made by the director, and her performance in some places approaches a classiness, a perfection that bears the Chaplin mark."
Gian Maria Giglielmino, La Gazzetta del Popolo., 31 jan 1967

" The masterpiece of a film which is not a masterpiece is the rewarding performance of Loren the actress. She has a sufficiently broad range, she can go from the most virtuoso humor to expressions which are warm and intense, tender and gentle, almost maternal."
Giovan Battista Cavallaro, L'Avvenire d'Italia, 31 jan 1967

"A Countess from Honk Kong is probable the best movie ever made by a 77-year-old man. Unhappily, it is the worst ever made by Charlie Chaplin."
Time Magazine, 31 mar 1967


"I put all the love I could into that film - not for Brando, but for that incredible man Chaplin who invented our profession, our whole business... I still think it's a lovely film. The critics were wrong to be so unkind to it. It is often on television and each time I see it I appreciate all the grace and elegance of it , just what you could expect from Charlie Chaplin. Maybe it's even better on the little screen. It is an intimate film."
Sophia Loren

"I loved Sophia Loren in the part and I loved my picture... It had beauty and good human qualities. What do people want these days?"
Charlie Chaplin

"I would do this film even if he (Chaplin) was reading were the London telephone directory."
Sophia Loren




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© Excelsior Communication - 2007


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