Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  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 2161 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: