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.
Digging Through Movie History at Chaplin’s Studios
Film scholar Craig Barron gives us a tour of the studios on whose back lot Charlie Chaplin built the set for his final film of the silent era, The Circus.
Career Women in the Land of Lubitsch
Critics Molly Haskell and Farran Smith Nehme talk about the highly idiosyncratic heroines who populate Ernst Lubitsch’s comedies, including the protagonist of his final film, Cluny Brown.
Ritwik Ghatak’s Pursuit of Truth Beyond Realism
Acclaimed Indian filmmakers Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Kumar Shahani discuss how the Bengali master mixed expressionism and naturalism in his devastating domestic tragedy The Cloud-Capped Star.