Emerging after being placed on the shelf by Chaplin for almost fifty years, with a reputation as the film that made all directors fall on their knees, A Woman of Paris had a lot to live up to. It's easy enough to appreciate the deftness with which Chaplin propels the narrative in this 'first serious drama written and directed by myself' (to quote the opening preamble); in particular, his use of objects (a pipe on the floor, a collar falling from a chest-of-drawers) to relay facts about events and relationships. Easy enough also to enjoy the insouciant charm of Menjou's lecher, who languishes in pyjamas, and tootles on a tiny saxophone while his mistress (Purviance) grows more and more bored at the frenzy of Parisian high society. Yet despite its wealth of detail and sharp observations about morality, the film remains curiously insubstantial with its refined dabbling in the elements of satire, sentiment and melodrama exploited with such panache in Chaplin's starring comedies. The final verdict has to be: fascinating, but...
Cast and crew