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A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)

Director:
Charlie Chaplin
COUNTRY
UK
GENRE
Romance/Comedy
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Grevinnen fra Hong Kong
RUNNING TIME
120 minutes
Producers:
Charlie Chaplin
Jerome Epstein
Screenwriters:
Charlie Chaplin


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Ogden Mears Marlon Brando
Natasha Sophia Loren
Harvey Sydney Chaplin
Martha Mears Tippi Hedren
Hudson Patrick Cargill
Clark Oliver Johnston
John Felix Michael Medwin
Society girl Angela Scoular
Girl at dance Geraldine Chaplin
An old steward Charlie Chaplin

 

Review

Chaplin's final film almost feels like an anachronism and a throwback to the 1930s with its screwball comedy and asexual romance between a whimsical Sophia Loren struggling to come off as pristine and a semi-inspired Marlon Brando who couldn't quite convince himself that his co-star was all that, and who reportedly clashed with both her and the director, whom he dubbed "the most sadistic man he'd ever met".

Chaplin filmed in colour, cast his son Sydney in a charming part as Brando's right hand, and went all-in with elegant sets and locations, but his film was completely slaughtered by contemporary critics who thought it was dated and unconvincing. And although they were largely right, there is nevertheless more than enough golden moments and fine filmmaking here to make
A Countess from Hong Kong
into a worthy watch. Chaplin's eye for simple physical comedy creates some great scenes, such as when Patrick Cargill as Brando's hapless, kinky butler Hudson is to spend his first night with his new pro-forma wife Loren, or when Sydney completely emulates his father in a short segment at a bar.

The story as such is slight and simplistic, and constantly marred by the fact that there is minimal chemistry between Brando and Loren. Still, it has a perpetual drive to it that keeps you on board (literally speaking), and the fine work by the supporting characters popping in makes you forget about the film's shortcomings and accept it for what it is: a nice little flawed farewell in the same style and tone that the great Chaplin once perfectioned.

Copyright 1.5.2015 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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