Chaplin Bibliography VI

  • Schwob, René. Une Melodie Silencieuse. Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1929.
  • Scovell, Jane. Oona: Living in the Shadows. NY: Warner Books, 1998.
  • Siemsen, Hans. Charlie Chaplin. Leipzig: Feuer-Verlag, 1924.
  • Silver, Charles. Charles Chaplin: An Appreciation. NY: The Museum of Modern Art, 1989.
  • Smith, Julian. Chaplin. Boston: Twayne Pubs., 1984.
  • Sobel, Raul and David Francis. Chaplin: Genesis of a Clown. London: Quartet Books, 1977.
  • Solet, Bertrand. Chaplin. Paris: Éditions Duculot, 1980.
  • Soupault, Philippe. Charlot. Paris: Librarie Plon, 1957.
  • Sullivan, Ed. Chaplin vs. Chaplin. Los Angeles: Marvin Miller Enterprises, Inc., 1965.
  • Staudinger, Wilhelm. Ein Haus für Charlie: mit allen Chaplin-Filmen. Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Dieter Fricke GmbH, 1987.
  • Taylor, William C. Charles Chaplin: Paso a Paso tras la Huella del Vagabondo que llego a genio del cine. Barcelona: Ultramar Editores, S. A., 1993.
  • Tchernia, Pierre and Frederic Mitterand. Centenaire de la Naissance de Charlie Chaplin. Corsier-Vevey: Roy Export, Est., 1989.
  • Tichy, Wolfram. Charlie Chaplin in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten. Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, 1974.
  • Tyler, Parker. A Little Boy Lost: Marcel Proust and Charlie Chaplin. Prospero Pamphlets, No. 2. NY: QUS Press, 1947.
  • . Chaplin Last of the Clowns. NY: Horizon P, 1947, 1972.
  • Van Wessem, Constant. Charlie Chaplin. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij, “de Gulden Ster,” ?
  • Vance, Jeffrey. Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema. NY: Harry Abrams, 2003.
  • Von Ulm, Gerith. Charlie Chaplin: King of Tragedy. Caldwell, ID: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1940.

 
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Books V

Chaplin Bibliography V

  • Payne, Robert. The Great God Pan: A Biography of the Tramp Played by Charles Chaplin. NY: Hermitage House, 1952.
  • Pennac, Daniel. Le Dictateur et le Hamac. Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 2003.
  • Pina, Francisco. Charles Chaplin: Genio de la des ventura y de la ironia. Mexico: Biografias Gandesa, 1957.
  • Pouilaille, Henry. Charles Chaplin. Paris: Bernard Grosset, Éditeur, 1927.
  • Quigley, Isabel. Charlie Chaplin: Early Comedies. London: Studio Vista, 1968.
  • Ramond, Eduoard. La Passion de Charlie Chaplin. Paris: Librairie Baudiniere, 1927.
  • Reed, Langford. The Chronicles of Charlie Chaplin. London: Cassell and Co., Ltd., 1915.
  • Reeves, May and Claire Goll. Charlie Chaplin Intime. Paris: Gallimard, 1935.
  • . The Intimate Charlie Chaplin. Ed. and trans. Constance Brown Kuriyama. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., Inc., 2001.
  • Robinson, Carlyle. La Verité sur Charlie Chaplin: sa Vie, ses Amours, ses Déboires. . Trans. René Lelu. Paris: Société Parisienne d’Edition, ?
  • Robinson, David. Chaplin: The Mirror of Opinion. London: Seeker & Warburg, 1984.
  • . Chaplin: His Life and Art. NY: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1985.
  • . Charlie Chaplin Comic Genius. NY: Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1995.
  • Ross, Lillian. Moments with Chaplin. NY: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1978.
  • Roth, Patrick. Meine Reise zu Chaplin. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1998.
  • Ruiz, M. F. Charlot. Coleccíon Idolus del Cine, No. 50. Madrid: Pensa Grafica, ?
  • Sadoul, Georges. Vie de Charlot: Charles Chaplin ses Films et son Temps. Paris: Éditeurs François Réunis, 1952.
  • Sands, Frederick. Charlie en Oona Chaplin: een Leven vol Liefde. Amsterdam: Telebok bu, 1978.
  • Saroyan, Aram. Trio: The Intimate Friendship of Carol Matthau, Oona Chaplin and Gloria Vanderbilt. NY: Penguin Books, 1985.
  • Scheide, Frank and Hooman Mehran, eds. Chaplin: The Dictator and the Tramp. London: British Film Institute, 2004.
  • Schnelle, Frank. Charles Chaplin’s Der Große Diktator. Stuttgart: Verlag Robert Fischer, 1994.

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Chaplin Bibliography IV

  • Lopez, Manuel Villegas. Charles Chaplin: El Genio del Cine. Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, 1966.
  • Luft, Friedrich. Vom großen schönen schweigen: Arbeit und Leben des Charles Spencer Chaplin. Berlin: Rembrandt Verlag, 1957.
  • Lynn, Kenneth S. Charlie Chaplin and His Times. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
  • McCabe, John. Charlie Chaplin. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Inc., 1978.
  • McCaffrey, Donald W., ed. Focus on Chaplin. Englewood, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1971.
  • McDonald, Gerald. The Picture History of Charlie Chaplin. NY: Nostalgia P, 1965.
  • , Michael Conway and Mark Ricci. The Films of Charlie Chaplin. NY: The Citadel P, 1965.
  • Madden, David. Harlequin’s Stick–Charlie’s Cane: A Comparative Study of Commedia dell’arte and Silent Slapstick Comedy. Bowling Green, OH: Popular Press, 1975.
  • Maland, Charles J. Chaplin and American Culture: The Evolution of a Star Image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1989.
  • Manvell, Roger. Chaplin. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974.
  • Marsá, Angel. El último divorcio de Charlot. Amor Y Cine, No. 3. Barcelona: Garrofé, ?
  • Martin, Marcel. Charlie Chaplin. Cinéma d’aujourd’hui 43. Paris: Éditions Seghers, 1966.
  • . Charles Chaplin. Paris: Henri Veyrier, 1989.
  • Matis, David. Di Velt Fun Charlie Chaplin. NY: Yiddisher Kultur Farband, 1959.
  • Milton, Joyce. Tramp: The Life of Charlie Chaplin. NY: Da Capo P, 1996.
  • Minney, R. J. Chaplin The Immortal Tramp: The Life and Work of Charles Chaplin. London: George Newnes Ltd., 1954.
  • Mitchell, Glenn. The Chaplin Encyclopedia. London: B. T. Batsford, Ltd., 1997.
  • Mitry, Jean. Tout Chaplin. Paris: Éditions Seghers, 1972.
  • Moss, Robert F. Charlie Chaplin. NY: Pyramid Pubs., 1975
  • Nysenholc, Adolphe. Charlie Chaplin: His Reflection in Modern Times. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1991.
  • . Charles Chaplin: ou la Legende des Images. Paris: Méridiens Klincksieck, 1987
  • Olesky, Walter. Laugh Clown, Cry: The Story of Charlie Chaplin. Milwaukee: Raintree Pubs., Ltd., 1976.

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Chaplin Bibliography III

    • Gersch, Wolfgang.  Chaplin in Berlin: Illustrierte Minatur nach Berliner Zeitungen von 1931. Berlin: Parthas Verlag, 1999.

 

  • Gifford, Denis. The Comic Art of Charlie Chaplin. London: Hawk Books, Ltd., 1989.
  • Hahn, Ronald M. and Volker Jansen. Charlie Chaplin. Berlin: Taco Verlagsgesellschaft un Agentur MBH, 1987.
  • Haining, Peter, ed. Charlie Chaplin: A Centenary Celebration. London: W. Foulsham & Co., Ltd., 1989.
  • —. The Legend of Charlie Chaplin. Secaucus, NJ: Castle, 1982.
  • Hale, Georgia. Charlie Chaplin Intimate Close-ups. Ed. Heather Kiernan. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1999.
  • Hamisch, Michael. Charlie Chaplin: Uber ihn lach(t)en Millionen. Berlin: Henschelverlag, 1974.
  • Hoellriegel, Arnold. Charlie Chaplin Lichter der Großstadt. Leipzig: E.P. Tal & Co., 1931.
  • Hoyt, Edwin P. Sir Charlie. London: Robert Hale, 1977.
  • Huff, Theodore. Charlie Chaplin. NY: Arno P, 1972.
  • —. The Early Work of Charles Chaplin. Cincinnati: First Media P, 1961.
  • Isaac, Frederick. When the Moon Shines Bright on Charlie Chaplin. Wiltshire: Melksham, 1978.
  • Jacobs, David. Chaplin, the Movies, & Charlie. NY: Harper & Row, Pubs., 1975.
  • James, Eric. Making Music with Charlie Chaplin. Filmmakers Series, No. 71. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow P, Inc., 2000.
  • Kamen, Gloria. Charlie Chaplin. NY: Atheneum, 1982.
  • Kamin, Dan. Charlie Chaplin’s One-Man Show. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow P, Inc., 1984.
  • Kaminsky, Stuart M. A Few Minutes Past Midnight. NY: Carroll & Graf Pubs., Inc., 2001.
  • Karney, Robyn and Robin Cross. The Life and Times of Charlie Chaplin. NY: Smithmark Pubs., Inc., 1992.
  • Kimber, John. The Art of Charlie Chaplin. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic P, Ltd., 2000.
  • Koch, Eric. The Man Who Knew Charlie Chaplin. Oakville, Ontario: Mosaic P, 2000.
  • Lemoine, Phillippe and François Pedron. Charlie Chaplin Story ou Charlot L’Immortel. Boulogne: Les Editions Alain Mathieu, 1978.

 

  • Leprohon, Pierre. Charles Chaplin. Paris: Nouvelle Editions Debresse, 1957.

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Books IV

Books V

Books VI

Chaplin Bibliography II

  • Charlie Chaplin Tramp, Clown, Träumer. Frankfurt: Eichborn, 1989.
  • Charlie Chaplin’s Divorce Case (Uncensored). Sydney, Australia: The Labor Daily Ltd., 1927.
  • Charlot Habla de sus Mujeres. Barcelona: Ediciones Titán, ?
  • Comte, Michel and Sam Stourdzé, eds. Charlie Chaplin: A Photo Diary. Göttingen: Steidl Publishers, 2002.
  • Coover, Robert. Charlie in the House of Rue. Lincoln, MA: Penmaen Press, Ltd., 1979.
  • Cotes, Peter and Thelma Niklaus. The Little Fellow: The Life and Work of Charles Spencer Chaplin. NY: The Citadel Press, 1965.
  • Delage, Christian and Cecilia Cenciarelli, eds. Modern Times. Progetto Chaplin n. 2. Bologna, Italy: Cineteca di Bologna, 2004.
  • Delluc, Louis. Charlie Chaplin. Trans. Hamish Miles. London: John Lane The Bodley Head, Ltd., 1922.
  • DuBosch, R. G. Charlie Chaplin. Germinal-Reeks, No. 6. Ghent: UITG.S.M. “Het Licht,” 1946.
  • Eisenstein, S. M. El Arte de Charles Chaplin. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Losange, 1956.
  • Ekker, Ernst A. and Sabine Dreyer. Lachmelone and Wackelstock: Das Chaplin-Bilderbuch. Esslingen: Verlag J. F. Schreiber, 1993.
  • Epstein, Jerry. Remembering Charlie: A Pictorial Biography. NY: Doubleday, 1989.
  • Fiaccarini, Anna, Cecilia Cenciarelli and Michela Zegna, eds. The Great Dictator. Progetto Chaplin, Quaderno N. 1. Bologna, Italy: Cineteca di Bologna, 2002.
  • Fiaccarini, Anna, Peter von Bagh and Cecilia Cenciarelli, eds. Limelight: Documents and Essays. Progetto Chaplin n. 1. Bologna, Italy: Cineteca di Bologna, 2002.
  • Flom, Erich. Chaplin in the Sound Era: An Analysis of the Seven Talkies. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., Inc., 1997.
  • Geduld, Harry M. Chapliniana: A Commentary on Charlie Chaplin’s 81 Movies. Volume I: The Keystone Films. Bloomington, IN: IUP, 1987.
  • —, ed. Charlie Chaplin’s Own Story. Bloomington, IN: IUP, 1985.
  • Gehring, Wes D. Charlie Chaplin: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 1983.

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Books VI

Chaplin Bibliography

 

  • Alexandre, Maxime et al. “Hands Off Love.” Transition. September 1927.
  • Baxter, John. The Kid. NY: Viking Press, 1981.
  • Bazin, André. Essays on Chaplin. Ed. and trans. Jean Bodon. New Haven, CT: U of New Haven P, 1985.
  • Bessy, Maurice and Robert Florey. Monsieur Chaplin ou le Ririe dans la Nuit. Paris: Jacques Damase, 1952.
  • . Charlie Chaplin. NY: Harper & Row, 1983.
  • Bowman, W. Dodgson. Charlie Chaplin: His Life and Art. NY: John Day Co., 1931.
  • Burger, Erich. Charlie Chaplin: Berichte Seines Lebens. Berlin: Rudolf Mosse Buchverlag, 1929.
  • Chaplin, Charles. Hallo Europa! Trans. Charlotte and Heinz Pol. Leipzig: Paul List Verlag, 1928.
  • . Monsieur Verdoux. Berlin: Deutscher Filmverlag, 1948
  • . My Autobiography. London: The Bodley Head, 1964.
  • . My Early Years. London: The Bodley Head, 1964, 1979.
  • . My Life in Pictures. NY: Grosset & Dunlap, 1974.
  • . My Trip Abroad. NY: Harper & Bros., 1922.
  • . My Wonderful Visit. London: Hurst & Blackett, Ltd., 1922.
  • . Rampenlicht. Frankfurt am Main: Litera-Verlag, 1954.
  • . Die Schlußrede aus dem Film Der Große Diktator (1940). Hamburg: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1993.
  • Chaplin, Charles, Jr. My Father, Charlie Chaplin. NY: Random House, 1960.
  • Chaplin, Lita Grey and Morton Cooper. My Life with Chaplin: An Intimate Memoir. Brattleboro, VT: Bernard Geis Associates, 1966.
  • Chaplin, Lita Grey and Jeffrey Vance. Wife of the Life of the Party. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1998.
  • Chaplin, Michael. I Couldn’t Smoke the Grass on My Father’s Lawn. NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1966.
  • Chaplin, Patrice. Hidden Star: Oona O’Neill Chaplin. London: Richard Cohen Books, 1995.
  • Charlie Chaplin Annual. London: Brown Watson, Ltd., 1974.
  • The Charlie Chaplin Book. NY: Sam’l Gabriel Sons & Co., 1916.
  • The Charlie Chaplin Book. NY: Merrimack Pub. Corp., 1983.
  • Charlie Chaplin in Easy Street. NY: The Storm-Greg Corp, 1932.

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Chaplin California 1

chaplin_California_1.html

Interviewing Charlie’s Grandson, Charly Sistovaris

Interviewing Charlie’s Grandson, Charly Sistovaris


Well, Ladies and Gentleman, it is with a heavy heart that I pen my final introduction to the Charlie Chaplin newsletter, for this issue marks the end of my tenure as editor. I have enjoyed the last three years immensely and will miss the writing of it, working with discoverchaplin.com’s Ted Lu in making it look pretty and in hearing from you all afterwards with your thoughtful comments. My biography of Syd is now taking all of my time (and I don’t think Charlie would mind that too much). Thanks to all of you. It’s clearly time to move on and I could end the newsletter with no better person than Charly Sistovaris, a member of the Chaplin family itself.

Because I’ve haunted the Association Chaplin office in Paris for the last five years, working on various projects and research there, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Charly. A warm and wonderful person, I hope the following interview will give you a bit of a glimpse into who Charly is himself and what it’s like to be within the Chaplin family looking out of that picture-window that is the Charlie Chaplin legacy-a window that can be both rosy-colored and stopped up with aluminum foil. Thanks to Charly for helping us to see through that window for a moment or two and thanks to all of my interviewees over the past year who have cordially contributed to this project in honor of Charlie’s 30th anniversary year.

Meanwhile, www.thelittlefellow.org will continue, as will my new website on Syd, www.sydchaplin.com – a site that will be changing drastically over the next few months as I make better use of it. I hope you will keep in touch. All my best to everyone.


Charly Sistovaris speaking at the Chaplin Conference at Kyoto, Japan, 2007 Born in 1971 the son of Charlie’s second eldest daughter Josephine and Nicholas Sistovaris, Charly was raised in France. He wanted to become a neurologist, but went to a cinema school instead. Charly worked two years in a show for Bejart (see below) and tried writing for many years. He is a self-taught computer programmer, and with these skills, started working for the Association Chaplin three years ago. Charly has one daughter and lives in Paris.Charly, I understand you were in a program some time ago, entitled “Mr. C,” in which auditions are held for someone to fill Charlie’s shoes-to be the next Chaplin-but no one can be found who possesses all the necessary attributes. Can you talk more about this show and your role in it? How was it generally received?

It was an amazing experience… pretty frightening, too. I was only 20, had very little experience with theater and suddenly I had to play in front of thousands of people in the middle of highly professional dancers with one of the greatest choreographers, Maurice Bejart. For two years every now and then I had to hop on a plane, leaving my post-teenage life behind me, to throw myself in the arena. Still today when I hear the music of Chaplin that preceded my entrance on scene, I get knots in my stomach. The show was an homage to Chaplin with the underlying idea that Chaplin is inimitable. So, rather than having a lousy lookalike doing the Chaplin walk-on scene, it would be an evocation of his films and characters surrounding him, e.g., the bathing beauties, the police chase, boxing scenes, and transcriptions of some memories my aunt Annie (playing the main part) and I mentioned to Bejart. I don’t know what the show looked like from the “outside,” but being in it was like walking in a dream. Bejart’s powerful universe/vision intertwined with Chaplin’s world brought something of my grandfather’s films back to life. Just like when Mia Farrow enters the cinema screen in Woody Allen’s film The Purple Rose of Cairo

Your participation in this show preceded your working in the Association Chaplin office. Do you think your experience performing in that show provided you with another level of understanding of your grandfather that perhaps caused you to want to contribute to the Association’s efforts and mission? Can you talk about what you do there?

Working for the Association was rather an accident. I always wanted to write, but never found the discipline to finish a novel. A few years ago my mother suggested I could work for the Association with no hope I would accept. But she was lucky, because I was broke that day and at an impasse with my writings. When I arrived, I was stunned by the amount of paperwork and thought I could ease a few things by injecting some IT automation into the flow. So I started writing unfinished programs instead of unfinished books!… Today my main activity is on the charliechaplin.com website. The web is a fascinating medium and I sometimes relate to my grandfather in the sense that the Internet is an emerging medium the same way cinema was in the early 1920s. Social networking, the wisdom of crowds, users being actors, and all those web 2.0 trends are opening an avenue to something unique despite the dead ends. In my little niche, I’m trying to give Chaplin admirers a way to pursue the experience they have with his films, as well as keeping people informed of all the activities going on about him.

I’ve talked to you many times now, Charly. I would have to say that-to me-some of what you’ve inherited from your grandfather includes 1) an incredible physical grace and litheness, 2) a charming shyness or tentativeness and 3) a great passion for ideas. What would you say you’ve inherited from your grandfather and what would you have liked to inherit?

Thank you for the compliments! A very short answer: I wish I had inherited his discipline for work.

You said recently that you’d just begun to appreciate your grandfather as an historical figure. As I found when researching “A Comedian Sees the World,” he seemed to be-especially on that trip-hobnobbing with some of the most important personages of the time, men and women who certainly shaped the world into what it has become today, good or bad. How has your knowledge of this changed your feelings toward him, of has it? Of which interaction / confrontation / experience are you most proud (or intrigued) and why?

This is the subject of a book… As you know Chaplin’s fame and success with the character of the Little Tramp was immediate and huge. Talent and historical context don’t explain the magnitude of this sudden worldwide popularity. I think that the Little Tramp touches a chord that is close to something religious or sacred. It was once said that Chaplin was as famous as Jesus Christ. Ironically he died on the 25th of December. In a world of frightening transitions (the industrial revolution, exploding megalopolies, a collapsing Europe, emerging superpower states, dictatorships…), the common references of human communities were losing ground. In such a context the figure of the Little Tramp brought back a sense of dignity in a way I believe quite similar to the way the figure of Jesus helped the left-behinds in the Roman Empire regain faith in themselves. Symbolically the law is blind. It destroys people who don’t conform to its rules. Strikingly, when the Little Tramp hands over a rose to the ex-blind girl in City Lights, something amazing happens. She sees the real person behind the fantasy. Her savior isn’t some handsome, rich millionaire, but the naked humanity of a poor little tramp. The message is similar: God is human. When the laws of society overwhelm the basic truth of individuals, we reach a breaking point; are we just a cog in some supernatural mechanism or human beings driven by some sort of free will? Chaplin definitely refused to accept the idea of being a cog…… a part of that slippery theory, (Fellini said Chaplin was “our Adam” so let’s leave the theological debate for another time). Einstein, Churchill, Gandhi, Roosevelt. As you say they shaped the world. Only Stalin is missing from the picture, and I’m happy they never met!

As a member of the larger “Chaplin family,” what are your hopes and fears about Charlie’s longevity-in terms of his creative and historical status? How do you hope your own daughter will come to regard her great grandfather and his work?

I often see Chaplin associated with the idea of nostalgia. Some Americans still confuse him with an “evil communist.” In England they consider him too weepy. In France many intellectuals (although he was very appreciated by them) have the reflex of comparing him to Buster Keaton to emphasize the fact that the latter was a better “cineaste.” Over the trajectory of misconception to stupidity, I don’t know which one comes first, but I’m really not worried. I have seen over and over all of his feature films, and I may have noticed now and then a weak gag, a little clunk in the rhythm, but I never ever cease to discover new emotions, new subtleties, new comic depths, and new meanings. Even if I try to remain objective, I cannot help becoming overwhelmed by my emotions. Chaplin was a perfectionist, a man rooted with a deep trauma who put all his soul and genius in his work (and not just his talent, as Oscar Wilde would say of himself). His struggle for life, the deep intimacy he finds in laughter and drama, and the amazing humanity he gets out of it, shines in every second of his masterpieces. Would it be presumptuous to say Chaplin’s work is a diamond in the history of cinema art the way Shakespeare was in literature or Bach in music? I don’t think so. Oh, and my daughter (three years old) already loves him.

 

Interviewing BFI’s Silent Film Curator Bryony Dixon

Interviewing BFI’s Silent Film Curator Bryony Dixon


If you’ve ever visited the British Film Institute’s Chaplin site, you know the work of Bryony Dixon. I met Bryony for the first time at the Charlie Chaplin Conference in London in 2005, where she was one of the organizers. Given the overwhelming nature of that whole event, of course, a person has to be immediately awed at what Bryony and her colleagues were able to do and are able to do. That was a great event and I’m still in touch with most, if not all, of the contacts I made there and have gained much from all of them. Thank you, Bryony! Perhaps the best venue for getting to know Bryony, though, is not at something as lofty as the Charlie Chaplin conference, but at dinner. But isn’t this always the case? I find her to be an authentic, no-nonsense sort of person, which I appreciate very much. So, if you ever get to meet up with her—at one or more film festivals in Europe—Nottingham, Bologna, Pordenone, etc., introduce yourself and consider yourself lucky. I know I do!


Bio:Bryony Dixon has worked at the BFI National Archive for 15 years and has developed a particular interest in early film. She has written on British silent comedy, the relationship of early film and the music hall and programmes archival material of all kinds for the BFI’s own cinemas as well as internationally. She founded and co-programmes the British Silent Film Festival with Laraine Porter of the Nottingham Broadway Cinema. This festival, now in its 11th year has transformed the way we think about British film history. In the last few years she ran the BFI’s Chaplin project, organised the first international conference on Chaplin and designed the BFI’s dedicated Chaplin microsite (chaplin.bfi.org.uk). She is now a curator with a special responsibility for the BFI’s collection of silent film.What is the Charlie Chaplin Research Foundation and who can utilize it?

The original idea of the Foundation was to promote interest in and study of Chaplin in the country of his birth. Lord Attenborough in particular was keen that the Chaplin story could be used to inspire young people particularly in deprived areas around where Chaplin was born and brought up – which of course happens to be where the BFI Southbank is located. At one time there was to be a physical presence at the newly developed Southbank site but although the space for educational functions, development of a Mediatheque and other innovations does cater more to the local community, the Chaplin project itself became more focused on maximising access to the collections, setting up the conference to assess the interest in the academic community and restoring the films. Of course we also have our consultant David Robinson on board and the project with some firm foundations can grow from here.

Can you talk a bit about creating the BFI’s Chaplin website? How did you decide what you would like to put on it, for instance? What will you add to it in the future, if anything?

When I was thinking about designing the Chaplin website – I thought about what would be the most useful contribution that the BFI could make to the study of Chaplin. Essentially we deal in collections and knowledge, so it seemed logical that supplying access to as many original materials as possible was a good place to start. So much has been written on Chaplin–some good, some bad–that to add to this huge volume of opinion seemed unlikely to make the kind of difference I was looking for. So I decided to play to our strengths and digitise as many of our materials as I could for people to see and make up their own minds about Chaplin. I was also aware of other people’s sites and wanted ours to be complementary – particularly to the official archives. I also gave the BFI site a British slant and so commissioned some pieces on Chaplin’s relationship to Britain specifically. I scanned reviews and promotional material for Chaplin films in the British press which would have been very tedious to access previously, and I tried to make connections with Chaplin’s British stage background. One of my favourite parts of the site is the section on the restoration of the Keystone films – this really explains in detail the complexity and work involved in bringing these films back from obscurity. I think people are really interested in these processes. There is a great little film showing the technicians at work making difficult decisions about which materials to use in the restoration as well an interview with film historian Glenn Mitchell explaining why the Chaplin Keystones are so important and why the restoration project has transformed his opinion of the films. We will continue to update the site about the restoration project as the work is done and hopefully long term we will be able to stream the films themselves on the site.

What restoration work is currently going on with Charlie’s films, if any? Can you talk a bit about this process?

It may seem slightly odd that the BFI should be a major player in the Chaplin Keystone restoration project. There are two reasons for this – one is that the BFI happens to have a very large collection of original nitrate Keystone material, which we have been allowed to keep, unlike archives in some other countries, which have been obliged to dispose of their nitrate for safety reasons. The other reason is that the BFI National Archive has a preservation laboratory and expert staff that can take on a project like this. We have particular expertise at handling early material.

There are 4 more Keystone titles to restore after which we will be preparing a DVD release in partnership with Bologna and Lobster films. The last few titles (Recreation, Those Love Pangs, His Favorite Pastime and Cruel, Cruel Love) are going to be difficult, as no good source material exists – so if any of your readers have full frame 35mm Keystone prints under their beds, now is the time to bring them out in triumph!

The Charlie Chaplin Conference (2005) was a big success and an event long overdue. Is the BFI planning any future Chaplin events and, if so, can you tell us about them?

Yes, in August/September 2008 the BFI will be mounting a complete season of Chaplin’s early films at the BFI Southbank focusing on the period between him leaving Britain and the time he returned as ‘the most famous man in the world’ for his first return visit in 1921.

We will also be engaging with other academic Chaplin projects and helping to encourage research projects.

Legend has it that an important part of the BFI’s Chaplin collection was found in a dust bin (trash can for us Americans)? Can you give us the story?

Hmmm, this sounds like one of those urban myths – it’s always more exciting if rare and precious archive materials are found in a trash can or are about to end up in flames on the Guy Fawkes Night bonfire. It belongs with all that imagery which dogs the archivist – cans covered in dust, cobweb strewn vaults, unearthing treasures, discovering ‘gems’ – it’s all nonsense – our vaults are clinically clean, most archives look like science labs, all gleaming metal and bright lights – boring alas, but true.

I have it from Kate Guyonvarch that an important part of the Chaplin archive, the Keystone films scene photo book, was possibly compiled in the 1930s by a Mr. Waley of the BFI. If this is true, it seems very forward-thinking of Mr. Waley-in terms of film history in general and the importance of Charlie’s work in particular. Can you talk more about this?

Yes, the scrapbooks are fabulous – they are very useful for our film restorers – it makes sense of the continuity and helps us with details such as stills of the final image of Kid Auto Races (an emblematic shot, or close up, of Charlie) and lots of information on alternative titles which helps us track down material.

The scrapbooks were allegedly compiled in 1937 by H D Waley who was indeed a key employee of the BFI in the early days – here is what Christophe Dupin, the BFI’s historian was able to tell me:

“HD (aka Hubert) Waley was born in 1892. He was appointed on a permanent basis on 1/4/1936, though he had been the BFI’s unofficial technical adviser since the setting-up of the BFI in 1935. Later known as the BFI’s ‘Technical Director’ in 1936, he was officially responsible “for all technical enquiries and information and is also in charge of the Institute’s theatre”. He was responsible for “advising the Institute on all matters relative to the technical side of cinematography, and answering enquiries on that subject and for similar duties in relation to the vaults of the National Film Library. However his role was not just technical. He was technical editor of Sight and Sound (Autumn 1935) the BFI’s magazine. And co-wrote The Cinema Today (1939). He was made redundant in 1951/52, following budget cuts. Part of his job was then taken over by Karel Reisz.”

And finally, in your opinion, why do you think Charlie Chaplin’s reception in the UK is so poor right now? Why are the British seemingly no longer that interested in either him or his film work?

Again it’s a kind of urban myth – if I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that ‘Chaplin isn’t as funny as Keaton’ I’d be rich by now. I don’t know where this came from originally, but everybody copies each other and people who have never seen more than a clip or maybe one film of Chaplin’s or Keaton’s repeat this phrase as if it were some universal truth. Now it has become almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, there is good news – if you look at everything going on, the picture looks somewhat rosier – you will find that the Chaplin DVD’s which we publish are amongst our best sellers, we have the Chaplin retrospective planned for next year, a festival was held this year at the prestigious Conway Hall (Rollie Totheroh’s son and grandson came all the way to the UK for it), we have just published two books on Chaplin and we have a dedicated website (David Lean and Peter Greenaway are the only other filmmakers afforded such a privilege). So things are looking up!

 

Interviewing Maestro Timothy Brock

Interviewing Maestro Timothy Brock


This month I had the pleasure of interviewing a truly extraordinary individual. Well, I guess you could say that’s about true of everyone I’ve interviewed for this series, but myself, I’ve always been mesmerized and stupefied by someone who can either write music or play it. I remember when I was an undergraduate in college and I had the good fortune of being given two roommates who were students in the College Conservatory of Music, how awed I was at what they had to do-the dedication they had for their art, yes, but also their ability to persevere in a course that seemed beyond difficult-music theory!! How did they understand that stuff? Ever since that time when I watched those two girls make incredible music out of what were pretty funny looking instruments, I’ve had a deep respect for musicians and especially composers. I remember one of their fellow classmates majored in that mystical musical theory, of all things, and, poor boy, he felt he had to work towards a business minor besides in case he didn’t make it-and most don’t! Once you read Tim’s story below, then, you will understand just how extraordinary he is. Tim made it and made it very early in life. It has been my very great pleasure to get to know him personally over the last couple of years and to count him among my treasured friends. After reading his interview, I’m sure you will appreciate him as much as I do-if only for Charlie’s sake!


Maestro Timothy Brock Timothy Brock (b.1963) has been an active composer and conductor who has specialized in concert works of the early 20th-century and silent film. In the course of his career, he has conducted over 200 programs including 30 world and North American premieres of new or lost works by a wide diversity of composers. Such programs included the first US-concert performance of Hanns Eisler’s Kleine Sinfonie, Niemandslied, Kuhle Wampe and Erwin Schulhoff’s Symphony no. 2, the North American premiere to the previously lost 1930 Russian-vaudeville masterpiece Declared Dead, by Dmitri Shostakovich, and the world premiere of David Raksin’s Nocturne written in 1946. He has written new or restored original orchestral scores to 26 silent films. His orchestral compositions include new scores for Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr, premiered by the Berner Symphonie-orchester, Keaton’s The General, premiered by the Orchestre National de Lyon and Ernst Lubistch’s Lady Windermere’s Fan, premiered by the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna.In 1999 Brock began working exclusively for the Charles Chaplin estate, who have commissioned nine score restorations of the major films scores by Chaplin, including Modern Times, City Lights, The Gold Rush, The Circus, A Woman of Paris, The Pilgrim, Shoulder Arms, A Dog’s Life, and the short feature Pay Day. In 2008 his recording of the complete Modern Times with the NDR Philharmonie will be released on CPO (Classic Produktion Osnabruck). For more information, check Maestro Brock’s website at http://www.timothybrock.com/.

How did you come to be interested in working in silent film accompaniment and with Charlie Chaplin’s scores in particular?

I had seen my first theatrical presentation of silent film in 1973 when I was 10, growing up in Seattle. It was an all day show which included Keaton’s COPS, Murnau’s NOSFERATU, Lang’s METROPOLIS and a couple of other shorts I don’t remember, all accompanied by the great Andy Crow at the Mighty Wurlitzer of the (now burned down) Granada Theatre in West Seattle. Knowing full well the implications of how corny this over-used statement sounds, I am compelled to say that the event truly changed my life. This is because I distinctly remember the devastation I felt that night when my mother plainly told me that it was utterly impossible to make a living at making music for silent film. So therefore it was my dutiful pre-teen responsibility, as a gauntlet was then thrown before me, to spend the rest of my life proving my mother wrong. So by the time I was 24 I had been commissioned to compose my first feature silent film orchestral score to PANDORA’S BOX, and had written or restored 15 or 16 subsequent scores before I started to work for the Chaplins in 1999.

Maestro Timothy Brock conducting live performance In 1998 I got a call from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, for whom I’d been conducting their silent film performances since 1995, to ask if I was interested in restoring for live performance MODERN TIMES. Blindly and swiftly agreeing to the huge project, the next thing I knew I was on a flight to Paris to look at the manuscript score pages, which was approximately 20 inches thick. The Chaplins bought out my contract with Los Angeles and I spent the next 14 months restoring MODERN TIMES, and conducted its premiere in June, 2000 with LACO, then one week later in Germany for the European premiere with the NDR Philharmonie. I have been working with the Chaplins ever since and have just completed my 9th score for them this year.

As a composer yourself, would you say that understanding Charlie’s method of composing is integral to being able to restore his work? How did you come to understand his method then and can you explain that method to us?

It’s helpful to have some background as to how a composer works, because, on occasion, you have to guess what he would have done in a particular passage that could be missing on paper, or is generally unclear. But, in fact, most of the time it’s a matter of doing the nitty-gritty of studying the materials that you have. However, knowing David Raksin (the then 23-year-old musical associate for MODERN TIMES), for example, proved helpful in the clarification of Chaplin’s working methods in the 1930’s.

Charlie Chaplin at the piano David told me that Charlie, after finishing the editing of the film, set out to the studio each morning at 9:00 a.m. to compose music to a different section of the film, and he would write on paper what Charlie was playing at the piano. After composing the scene, or in some instances merely a few shots, Charlie and David would define the orchestration of that passage (i.e. decide which instruments would play what notes) and by the end of the day it would be David’s job to hand over a complete score to the copyist/arranger to start making player’s parts. After enough music had been composed, orchestrated and parts made, the orchestra was contracted and ready to begin recording the score. However, on many occasions, Charlie, hearing what he had composed, rejected an entire passage after a single play through by the orchestra, thereby telling David that they must begin the whole process over again for that passage. This makes for incredible pressure on all concerned, including Charlie who is paying the orchestra to be on hand each day over a three week period. This was unheard of in Hollywood terms then, and is even less so now, as most film scores are recorded over a maximum period of one to two days. But I believe he composed and recorded his scores just as he did shooting scenes as a director: everybody works, and alternately waits, until the end result is what he deems as perfect. And MODERN TIMES certainly is a miraculous result, symptomatic of this process.

What, then, is the process you go through when endeavoring to restore one of Charlie’s scores?

As I said, the bulk of the work is studying closely the materials you have. I was fortunate to have the original manuscripts of all the scores and parts (from the Chaplin Archive in Montreux, CH) in my possession at the time of the restorations, which makes all the difference. Funnily enough, when restoring a Chaplin score, it is the parts themselves that are the most valuable. Charlie Chaplin the musicianAs Charlie was constantly changing the score as they recorded it, the fully orchestrated score pages, and the ones from which the copyist made the parts, are actually, in effect, an early draft. When Charlie made changes, the only written evidence of these instant modifications were hand-written by the players themselves on their individual parts at the time of the recording.

The process for me was take each cue (usually a one to two minute passage) and start transcribing from the Piccolo part all the way down to the Contrabass part, and re-writing each of the 20-26 lines of instruments on the score page, taking in all changes and modifications to each voice as written by the players. Often these changes would be written above the staff-line of the crossed-out original passage, or on a separate sheet of music paper. When sheet music paper wasn’t handy enough (apparently!) they sometimes wrote on the backs of scrap paper, such as laundry receipts or pay slips. More often than not, the chicken-scratches I found on alternate sheets of “paper” were unmarked as to which cue it belonged, and I was therefore thrust into the role of archeologist as I tried to match the passage to the right cue.

What are some of the particular challenges you face when undertaking such a task?

There are also the occasional moments when some passages are missing entirely on paper. In the case of MODERN TIMES, there were approximately eight collective minutes missing altogether. For these moments I was required to transcribe aurally (from the optical track) the notes played by the orchestra, which is the most scary part of the restoration process as you are at the mercy of a 1936 recording, which, as good as it was for the time, only transmits 30-40 percent of what was probably on paper. This is where the knowledge of Chaplin’s work and preferences comes into play as a restorer.

Another challenging factor is having a fairly good knowledge of the antiquated style of playing and then reproducing that on paper. These ornamentations are not written, but are standard playing practices of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Orchestras today do not play Brahms, or even Stravinsky, as they did 70 years ago. The same is true for most film scores written in the 30’s. These manners of playing are crucial to the overall effect of the 1936 music, and for most orchestras today, it is a style very foreign to them and, therefore, Charlie Chaplin conducting a recording session of A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG must be written out. It is great fun as a conductor to tell an orchestra that they must execute the score as their grandfathers and grandmothers may have done, including heavy and electric vibrato in the strings with careful observation of the written glissandi (sliding) between notes, brass requiring nine different specialty mutes, Saxophones needing to synchronize their vibrato with each other and asking the tuba if he could play a sousaphone instead. These treatments are merely a starting point to creating an accurate account of the score.

On average, depending on which score, I am able to restore 20-30 seconds of music per day. As tedious and time-consuming as the restoration process can be, it is vital in order to achieve a result that comes as close as possible to what Chaplin heard himself.

 

Can you talk about the special case of A Woman of Paris score and your experience with it? Do you think this score will ever be performed in the States or will it be recorded?

The new score to A WOMAN OF PARIS was the most artistically challenging score to produce. The 1977 score Charlie had released, with his long-time musical associate Eric James, is a conundrum. Recorded within the last year of his life, it is generally believed that James was behind the selection of material and tried his best, given the circumstances, to create a “Chaplinesque” score with Charlie’s approval. It is not altogether successful in supporting the film and it lacked the unique quality we have come to know in Chaplin scores. I think it was considered not appropriate to exhibit with live orchestra.

In 2004 Josephine Chaplin and Kate Guyonvarch had transferred to CD about 20 hours of private recordings of Chaplin composing on the piano, primarily around the time of LIMELIGHT. My guess is that these were recordings made for Ray Rasch, his musical associate at the time, Charlie Chaplin in LIMELIGHT for transcriptions to be made later. Many of the compositions were, in fact, transcribed and used in the film. But much of the music was not used, and until then was never heard before.

Over several months I transcribed the unknown music to paper, identifying about 13 complete compositions, and about 21 incomplete ones. From these works I made the effort to create a “new” Chaplin score, with music from his only other drama, and it is that score now that is used when performing the film live. I have only conducted the score here in Europe, but I hope a US performance is realized soon. It’s an amazing film and far too beautiful to keep to ourselves!

If you could talk to Charlie, composer to composer, what would you ask him (what would you talk about)?

That’s a very difficult question. Most likely I would be asking him for a job. Then if he hired me, and I did my job correctly, I would be fired again just as quickly. This I would wear as a sort of badge of honor, considering the company of great musicians he has hired and fired over the years: Arthur Johnston, Alfred Newman, David Raksin, Max Terr, Meredith Willson. All of these guys worked Chaplin very hard and paid the price, but I don’t think any of them regretted any of it. I mean, look at the result!

What’s next? I got to see you working on The Gold Rush score firsthand, which you premiered this summer in Bologna-a great experience for me. Such a tremendous project must be both exhausting and rewarding. Is there another Chaplin score you’d like to work on? Or will you be moving on to other projects?

Now that THE GOLD RUSH is complete and in publication, all of the feature film scores of Chaplin are now complete, Carl Davis having done THE KID and IDLE CLASS in the mid 1990’s. All that remains are the shorts like SUNNYSIDE and A DAY’S PLEASURE. However, I have been commissioned by Paul Merton to create a version of THE GOLD RUSH for an orchestra of 15 players. I will give that premiere in Bristol on January 18th 2008. Other than that I am just keeping busy conducting the 10 Chaplin scores that are already out there, as well as the other films in my repertoire.

Having worked on the Chaplin scores has been an amazing experience and one I should not forget easily. So long as people enjoy going to the films, I think I will always take pride in the fact that I had a small part in their experience. The goal is, and always has been, to come as close to what Chaplin realized for his audience, and if I’ve done that I’m happy.

Timothy Brock conducting live performance of CITY LIGHTS