Sunday, September 16, 2007

Charlie Chaplin at the Paramount

So, every year about this time the Paramount Theater in downtown Seattle hosts a month of silent movie nights, accompanied by live virtuoso organ music, just as they were first presented the better part of a century ago. We've only been able to make it to two or three of these performances over the years, unfortunately, but for those who might be interested this year's line-up couldn't be bettered. They're showing three Charlie Chaplin shorts each night, and they've chosen them from the twelve he made just when he gained full creative control over every aspect of his filmmaking. Each is about twenty minutes long and features an ensemble cast, so that the same actors re-appear in different roles in each film. I've seen seven of these twelve, and the best of them rank right up there with CITY LIGHTS and THE GOLD RUSH: silent film comedy just doesn't get any better, and they can still give post-silent film competition a run for the money.

Here's the schedule; if someone does make it, drop me a line and let me know how you liked them.

Sept 10th (obviously, these are already past, but I include it for the sake of completeness)
THE FLOORWALKER
THE FIREMAN
THE VAGABOND

Sept 17th
ONE A.M.
THE COUNT
THE PAWNSHOP

Sept 24th
BEHIND THE SCREEN
THE RINK
EASY STREET

Oct. 1st
THE CURE
THE IMMIGRANT
THE ADVENTURER

--if you only get to one of these, I'd recommend the Oct. 1st showing.* THE CURE has Charlie as an inebriated dandy going to a health spa to dry out; hilarity ensue as his presence makes things spiral out of control. A short clip from this film made its way into Michael Moore SICKO. THE IMMIGRANT, the only one of these to fully feature 'the little tramp' character, mixes pathos with slapstick in CC's characteristic manner; still moving, AND funny, today. THE ADVENTURER features Charlie as an escaped con trying to blend into a party; it has the least plot but plenty of manic energy.
Enjoy!
--John R.


*although ONE A.M., which is entirely a solo performance after the opening sequence, is an almost plotless tour-de-force that has never really been equaled as an example of the intransigence of inanimate objects and the inexorable move from order to chaos.

2 comments:

blewett said...

Hugh Blewett and I watched several Chaplin films at UWM a few years back during their Monday nights with Charlie Chaplin series. We have been waiting in vain for the reprise of this series. If I might veer off-topic for a moment, we will be waiting to see what JDR thinks of the "Beowulf" film that will soon be (if it has not already been) released.

blewett said...

and, btw, we loved "One a.m."