Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Directing A WOMAN OF PARIS

Edna Purviance's starring debut premiered in New York on October 1st, 1923

In this excerpt from an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Edna describes how Chaplin directed her in a scene:
Charlie would say, "Now if this happened to you in real life, what would you do?" She would answer conscientiously and then be told to go ahead and do it. 
"Never mind keeping your face to the camera," said Charlie, "your emotions will be seen and felt through any part of your body at any angle, if you act well." This, said Edna, gave one such a wide scope, left one free to be so natural. (Alma Whitaker, "The New Edna Purviance," Los Angeles Times, Oct. 21, 1923)



5 comments:

  1. Oh my God. (This is Jessie from BWI by the way) Jennifer R sent me this way. I can see where I'll be frittering when possible the next few days. This is utterly fascinating.

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    1. Hi Jessie!! Glad you found me. Fritter away!

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  2. I love hearing Charlie's directing advice to Edna! He was so right about her whole body communicating if she was really feeling the emotions of her character. I remember Martin Scorsese commenting in Richard Schickel's "Charlie" documentary about the shot where we see Edna only from behind as her artist love comes out of his apartment and realizes she overheard him and his mother talking about her. So good. Gotta watch that one again--I really enjoyed it the first time I saw it, especially Adolphe Menjou.

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    1. When I read the part about her emotions being seen through every part of her body, I immediately thought about Scorsese's comments regarding the scene with Edna's back to the camera. Like he said, no other director would have done it that way but it works and it's very powerful.

      I think A Woman Of Paris is one of Chaplin's best films. It's too bad its critical acclaim didn't encourage him to make more like it.

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  3. This first photo has been popping up everywhere lately.
    I really wish more people knew about "A Woman of Paris". I got to watch it during the Chaplin marathon and was blown away. The film is gorgeous. I also wish more people would have like it back then.
    I love seeing Charlie in front of the camera but I wish he would have done more films like this. I think he was truly his best behind it.

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