Charlie Chaplin has such an easygoing, lovable on-screen persona, and his films such a graceful, effortless charm, that it’s easy to forget that the actor-director was a maniacal perfectionist. The following footage of Chaplin directing a crucial scene from his masterpiece City Lights was caught on 16 mm by the filmmaker’s good friend the artist Ralph Barton. As the narrator, Chaplin historian Hooman Mehran, explains, this particularly fussed-over scene is a good example of the relentless precision with which Chaplin directed actors and composed shots (wait until you hear how many takes it took to get it right). See a lot more of this and other behind-the-scenes footage on our new special edition of City Lights.
Donald Richie Uncovers the Traces of a Lost Japan
In collaboration with director Lucille Carra, the renowned writer brought his impressionistic travelogue The Inland Sea—an unusual choice for a film adaptation—to the big screen.
A Palette That Sizzles On-Screen
Filmmaker Darnell Martin and writer Nelson George discuss how vividly Do the Right Thing captures the heat of a Brooklyn summer and the diverse skin tones of its cast of color.
A Genius of French Cinema Delivers a Career-Defining Performance
Raimu is at his subtle best in one of the most moving scenes in The Baker’s Wife, a moment in which the actor channels the collective despair of France’s working class.