Conversations in the Lobby: Anatomy of a Book Launching III

Saturday, then, was the Dossier Chaplin at 5:45, followed by the showing of A King in New York on the huge piazza (outside) at 10:00. We kind of all had our fingers crossed, because two of the piazza films had been moved inside due to late evening rainstorms. Anyway, as 5:45 rolled around, I wasn’t feeling too good. Spent all day worrying about my presentation, I guess. I was showing some great slides from the Chaplin Film Co. pressbooks of Charlie on the 1931-2 tour that didn’t make it into the book, with some of my own commentary. I had been so calm in front of the press and my radio public that I couldn’t really understand why I was so nervous today, but I was. Then, when I got into Cinema Lumiere #1 and walked up to the dais, I understood. Right in front of me, in the first row, Michael and Patricia Chaplin were seated—and Kate and Peter and Tim. I became a veritable mass of goo. I got through it, with a falter here and there, but I got through it. Next came Michael Chaplin, who graciously narrated over some family home movies put before him, then Chuck Maland, author of Chaplin and American Culture, gave an interesting analysis of A King in New York as a Cold War film. Has anyone ever before heard that King Shadov was based on a creative conjoining of the words “shah” and “dove”? I’m sorry; that was a new one on me. Finally, the dossier ended with a presentation by Frank Scheide, co-editor of The Chaplin Review, on Jerry Epstein and the production of A King in New York. I’m glad to see someone besides me looked Julian Ludwig, an original member of the Circle Theater and one of the three street musicians in Limelight, up in the phone book and gave him a call. I did this years ago, found him to be extremely sharp-minded and full of great information, but had never done anything with it.
And so, the week and the festival ended with A King in New York, shown outside on the Piazza Maggiore and first introduced by Michael Chaplin. Standing room only; very well received; the festival couldn’t have had a more appropriate final moment. And, just to get you all prepared for next year—Gian Luca Farinelli announced at the press conference that since 2007 is the final year of Progetto Chaplin at the Cineteca, that the festival would feature a complete retrospective of Chaplin films, and also, (although this is not confirmed yet) the “Chaplin in Pictures” exhibit that has been touring around Europe the past two years. So make your reservations now and get your bags packed. Hope to see you all there!

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