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.
Bringing the Grit to Philippine Cinema
For Philippine master Lino Brocka, casting a mix of nonprofessional and professional actors was key to achieving his brand of unvarnished naturalism.
This Kiss: Filming an Intimate Moment in The Virgin Suicides
What goes into staging the perfect on-screen kiss? Director Sofia Coppola and actors Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett look back on shooting a passionate make-out session in The Virgin Suicides.
“Perfect Imperfection”: Neil Young Improvises Dead Man
Jim Jarmusch filmed Neil Young recording the score for his 1995 revisionist western. Watch a bit of the never-released footage here.
Discovering the Jazzy Sounds of Paul Whiteman
Musician Michael Feinstein talks about discovering Paul Whiteman, the wildly popular bandleader who stars in the early-Technicolor musical King of Jazz.
Playing with Color and Light in Women in Love
Cinematographer Billy Williams talks about his experience creating the lush images and expressive lighting in Ken Russell’s boldly stylized adaptation of Women in Love.