A three-part documentary based on unseen footage from Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin ordered all of his outtakes burned but some did survive. This gives us a glimpse of how he constructed a story. He relied on inspiration and rarely had anything planned out in advance and that lead to classic scenes.
He would rearrange sets and actors and if a good mistake happened he would act on it and stretch it out. This was a good way to waste thousands of dollars worth of film but it also made him a comedy genius. Chaplin said he would build sets without an idea in his head but would be inspired.
Below is an outtake he never used in his feature “City Lights” which It would have been interesting if he would have kept it in. He takes the simplest prop…a piece of wood and works a scene around it in a grate.
The documentary was in three parts.
My Happiest Years – This part is mostly on his early Mutual shorts years in 1916-1917
The Great Director – Actresses and Actors talk about working on Chaplin’s films.
Hidden Treasures – A look at a variety of informal, private or salvaged pieces of film by or relating to Chaplin, including home movie footage, visitors to his studios, and several sequences that were edited out of his final films.
Like the Buster Keaton biography A Hard Act To Follow this was produced by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill. It’s worth chasing these down or click on this link in youtube.