Matching a Charlie Chaplin film with music

Continuing on with Chaplin’s 125th anniversary of his birth and 100th anniversary of his first film! HUZZAH!

I was listening to a song, Perpetuum Mobile by Penguin Cafe Orchestra, and it popped in my head of a scene from a not-so-well-known Charlie Chaplin film that was never released (until a few years ago).  The song itself does not necessarily remind one of Chaplin, but the tempo reminded me of the stop motion building of his studio from the film, How to Make Movies (a kind of “behind the scenes” type movie).  And other things just fell into place.

Below are embeds of the film (no need to adjust the volume, there is no sound at all for the film), and two different places to listen to the song (your choice). I start the song right after the “Hollywood, Cal.” title card (about 0:14), and the song ends as Charlie finishes eating the lemon and skips away from the camera.

Here is the song on YouTube:

Have Spotify? (Where I first heard the song.)

It’s not a 100% match, but it does match quite a bit of it especially since it’s not an obvious song choice (Maple Leaf Rag always reminds me of Chaplin), and ends at a good spot. Fun to watch 🙂

Some thoughts on the film:

Although the film was never released to the public, Chaplin did release the beginning part of it when he put together three of his silent films together, A Dog’s Life, Should Arms, and The Pilgrim, in 1959 for The Chaplin Revue. He added music (which is wonderful! Especially for guy who couldn’t read or write music) and narrated short intros before each of the three films. Right before A Dog’s Life, he narrates parts of HTMM.

Such as the scene where the 1918 Charlie arrives at the studio, older Chaplin says “Now you see my arrival. (Charlie gets out of car) That’s me. I looked much younger there. (laughs) That was at least ten years ago” he says, 40 years later! Always makes me chuckle.

I just tried looking for it online, and (as of right now) it’s been removed and I cannot find another one.

It is an amazing look (albeit staged) at how he worked at that time of his career. And a lot of fun to see him, for a good amount of the film, as his own person, no costume. Interacting with his cast, directing, going over gags, putting on, and later taking off, his famous tramp costume, and some golf outtakes from The Idle Class.

And like many of his other films, he wrote, produced, directed it, and starred in this one.

The lemon that Chaplin eats is from citrus trees that grew on the lot. The land was covered with them, and when Chaplin build his studio, he kept a few standing.

And now I’ll head off and watch one of The Chaplin Revue collection movies, Shoulder Arms…

June 29th, 2014 by
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