Newest Reviews
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
Peanut Butter Falcon, The
Ip Man 4: The Finale
Card, The
Intruder, The
Newest Articles
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
  Countess from Hong Kong, A A Strife On The Ocean Wave
Year: 1967
Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Sydney Chaplin, Tippi Hedren, Patrick Cargill, Michael Medwin, Oliver Johnston, John Paul, Angela Scoular, Margaret Rutherford, Peter Bartlett, Bill Nagy, Dilys Laye, Angela Pringle, Geraldine Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: They say in Hong Kong there is a nightclub where you can dance with a Countess for a small amount of money - something to tell the boys back home. But on this ship that has docked at the city's harbour, American diplomat Ogden (Marlon Brando) is about to take up a position as an ambassador for his country and is looking forward to a quiet voyage back there. However, what he has not counted on is one of those Countesses, a Russian called Natascha (Sophia Loren), who he is introduced to the last night he is in Hong Kong. She is a lot keener to be in the United States than she is elsewhere, and as she has lost her fortune, she cannot afford to buy a ticket on the trip...

A Countess from Hong Kong was Charlie Chaplin's final film, it was not intended to be, it was simply such a colossal flop that he could not secure funds for his next project, The Freak, which went uncompleted. Over the years, some have piped up that this was nowhere near as bad as its reputation, and as early as the nineteen-seventies it was gaining traction as a cult movie, how could it not with this combination of talent? Yet none of them emerged with any dignity, and even supporting actor Patrick Cargill, usually singled out as the only bright spot, was landed with a tiresome and embarrassing bedroom scene with Loren that resolutely failed to take off and fly.

Mind you, around half the film took place in the bedroom as the whole affair was leadenly setbound from start to finish, the character mostly moving between Ogden's rooms in his quarters and slamming the doors as often as they possibly could: if you were playing a drinking game as to how many times they slammed, you would be paralytic before the first act was over. That may have been a product of the choice of location - Chaplin could not find many places to go on a ship, not ones that matched his purposes anyway - but very quickly the impression of watching a repertory theatre production of an outdated farce settled in, and never lifted for the whole two hours.

Albeit a regional farce that somehow managed to cast two of the most famous stars in the world at that time, not that they had much chemistry. Brando and Chaplin did not get on, possibly because the former simply did not have the latter's flair for comedy, but Chaplin was a perfectionist while Brando was more improvisational (which could develop into laziness), and those styles just did not mesh. Loren had a better time acting for her director, but she fell out with Marlon early on as well, so it was not the happiest of shoots, and Brando in particular was disgusted at how Chaplin would order his son around, Sydney Chaplin who played Ogden's right hand man Harvey, though Sydney did not appear to bear any ill will towards the eclipsing celebrity of his father, and forged a successful career largely on the stage.

Other members of the Chaplin clan also appeared, not in major roles, but Tippi Hedren was probably the third biggest star in the cast, and she only showed up for the last twenty minutes, which did nothing for her career. But while the film was accused of being outdated, it was Chaplin's attempts to drag his material (written originally for ex-wife Paulette Goddard decades before) into the sixties that were most offputting. Within the first five minutes there is a jokey rape reference, Brando burps, everyone vomits through seasickness, and Loren wears an evening gown (and later, a skimpy sarong) about as low cut as they could get away with; it was a bit like hearing your grandparent trying to talk down to you with crude remarks. Not to mention the relish that the script took in the depiction of once-rich Countesses effectively reduced to prostitution, a mark of the director's supposed communist sympathies, maybe. It was no delight to see Chaplin grow past it, but it happens to many great talents, this was strictly for the curious. He wrote the music as well, and had a hit record with theme This is My Song (sung by Petula Clark).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 276 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith


Last Updated: