28 July 2006 | fcasnette
not as bad as critics made out
an interesting curio as Chaplin's last film. Loren is ravishingly beautiful and carries the whole film well on her shoulders. Brando badly miscast, he shows some great timing in the madcap farce rushing around scenes, but try to imagine how Rex Harrison could have done this type of slamming doors and hiding farce as the uptight diplomat exasperated with his stowaway - think My Fair Lady. Brando's mumbling performance just does not gel. Apparently he had disagreements with Chaplin and maybe was sulking.
Very nice cameos from Margaret Rutherford (British films of the 50s Miss Marple) and Angelar Scoular (batty girl like in her performance in On Her Majesty's Secret Service), also great comedy performance from Patrick Cargill (British TV comedy and a memorable No 2 in the Prisoner) as the butler. Excellent acting going on here.
It is dull to start with, static camera like silent films, stagy, and obvious studio sets, but by the time the sea sickness scene came along I was laughing and drawn in. The post marriage bedroom scene is funny.
There is a scene at the bar with Sydney Chaplin (Charlie's son) where he tries to distract Michael Medwin, where Sydney looks amazingly like Charlie in attitude and timing - but this is probably due to diligent direction by his father.
A really nice theme music from Charlie again. Yes, it is old fashioned, a filmed play, was absolutely released in the wrong decade, with the wrong leading man, but does show some of the Chaplin traits and even perhaps genius, certainly his humanist philosophy in the treatment of homeless or stateless persons.
A real shame it was so savaged by critics at the time and disappointed him in his old age. He deserved better for his lifetime contribution to the art of film.