Charlie Chaplin aka The Tramp needs no introduction. The legend of the Silent Era has left his legacy of work to do all the talking. It is rightly said that “making someone laugh is a damn hard job” but ‘the sir’ did it so brilliantly without using any words.
Very few people would be aware that Chaplin was also popular as ‘King of re-takes’ during his time. He was a perfectionist to the core and his associates had been through draining experiences on several occasions. There’s one such popular tale of Charlie’s directorial, City Lights, which will surely amaze you.
City Lights released in 1931. It featured Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers and Al Ernest Garcia, in key roles. The film was produced, written and directed by ‘the sir’ himself. In the film, there’s one scene where Cherrill prompts just two words- “Flower sir?” Would you believe that for such a small scene, the director had required 342 takes? Can’t even imagine how exhausting it would have been for the actress.
For the unversed, Cherrill played a character of blind flower girl in Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights.
It could be due to such a level of perfection, the film managed to please both critics and the audience. On the commercial front, it emerged as a big hit by collecting around $5 million.
Speaking about the same ‘re-take’ incident, historian and author Hooman Mehran once said, “Charlie Chaplin was a perfectionist, the king of the re-take. This was just a three-minute sequence in the finished film. But he took her (Cherrilli) to the task — even though it was a silent film,” reports CNN.