Charlie was so taken with Spanish singer Raquel Meller’s interpretation of Jose Padilla’s “La Violetera” that he used the song in City Lights. I have a feeling he was probably a little taken with Raquel herself and like Charlie did with many of his female friends/companions, he offered her the role of Josephine in his never-to-be-made Napoleon movie.
|Chaplin & Raquel Meller on the set of The Circus, 1926|
Charlie met Raquel again in 1931 when City Lights premiered in the south of France. Meller performed the song as part of the opening program. May Reeves recalls the event: “During our stay at Juan-Les-Pins, City Lights premiered at Antibes. It was a great event for all the Côte d’Azur, heightened by the presence of Chaplin & Raquel Meller, who sang “La Violetera” with immense success. She admired Chaplin very much and asked him to write a scenario for her.”
|France, 1931. Charlie & Raquel are on the left. May Reeves is on the right.|