Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
Written and directed by Time film critic Richard Schickel, this documentary, loaded with marvellous sequences from Chaplin’s films, suggests that the key relationship in the life and work of the phenomenally popular comedian was his need to dominate the most notoriously fickle of lovers, an audience. Here a celebrity audience – Scorsese, Woody Allen, Marcel Marceau – testify eloquently to Chaplin’s genius and influence on their own work. (Johnny Depp gives a charming account of a classic sequence from The Gold Rush.) His life – the marriages, the business ventures, the lawsuits – is recounted with lavish support from newsreel archives and Chaplin’s home movies. There are insightful interviews with people who worked with Chaplin, with critics and biographers, and with family members, notably daughter Geraldine, who speaks frankly about the predilection for young women that shadowed his reputation and led to his departure from America.
“Thoroughly researched and extremely informative… A must for lovers of cinema.” — David Stratton, Variety