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  1. “A Countess From Hong Kong” (1967) starred Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren, directed and scored by Charlie Chaplin, the last film that he was associated with. Widely panned as “old fashioned” at the time of its release in 1967, it has actually held up pretty well against some of the more trendy films of the era, many of which have dated quite badly. Chaplin chose to do a traditional romantic comedy and the male role called for the buoyant touch of a Cary Grant or Rock Hudson, not Marlon Brando, who resented and resisted Chaplin’s direction, so his sullen and flat performance pretty much sinks the film. Chaplin himself shares some of the blame, as this is not a well made film, with bad cuts and some rather stilted dialogue. Sophia Loren, who embraced Chaplin’s direction, is appropriately buoyant and engaged throughout, making the contrast with the muted and seemingly disinterested performance of Brando even more apparent. One positive is the delightful music, which Chaplin composed. One standout, “This Is My Song” was a charming number that Petula Clark recorded and was a worldwide hit. Chaplin himself made a cameo appearance as an old steward (the film is almost entirely set on an ocean liner, another dated aspect in the jet set late 1960s). In short, the film is not as bad as its reputation, but not as good as it could have been.

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