“La Violetera”

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. 


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