Monday, August 19, 2013

"I Was A Chaplin Kid"


Raymond Lee played the bully who picks on Jackie Coogan in this scene from The Kid. Lee also appeared in A Day’s Pleasure (along with Jackie) & The Pilgrim (the child who applauds Charlie’s sermon).  Many years later, Lee recalled Charlie guiding the two boys through the fight scene:
“Boys this is a very simple scene. Very simple. Two boys fighting. All boys fight. Must be a million boys fighting all over the world this very minute. It’s born in you—like tonsils. But boys, you aren’t fighting. You’re dancing with each other....
 "Hunger, hideous word. Most hideous of all tortures. Of course neither of you boys have ever been hungry. God forbid! Your stomach like a balloon without air. Your heart in your eyes and your eyes without a friend."
Despite his heavy makeup, Chaplin's skin whitened, the lines around his eyes, stitches in a wound.
"There is hunger in this scene. A boyish hunger makes Raymond steal Jackie’s toy. And Jackie fights for his hunger for it. It’s not an ordinary fight. It’s been going on for thousands of years but it still isn’t an ordinary fight."  His hands visored the down-draught of sunlight.
"I’ve been so hungry I could eat a shoe!”'
Cracking his knuckles, Chaplin leaned back in his chair, and cupping his mouth, whispered to [Albert] Austin. "I must sound like a damn fool talking to these kids like this." 

From “I Was A Chaplin Kid” by Raymond Lee, Movie Digest, Sept. 1972. Reprinted in The Legend of Charlie Chaplin by Peter Haining

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