March 29th – April 6th: Bali!
Very little is known about Chaplin’s second trip to Bali.1 Four years before (almost to the day), he had visited the island with his brother, Sydney (here and here) & was taken with their natural way of living. This time, however, he found it “a changed place.” It was more “civilized” and more “commercialized.” 2 Nevertheless the place still inspired him. Before he returned to the States in June, Chaplin was already thinking about a film with a Balinese setting. It would be a talkie and would star Paulette as a native girl.3 In fact, an unfinished screenplay for the film still exists in the Chaplin Archive.4
After a week in Bali, the group will sail back to Java on April 6th.
Stay tuned for more in Day By Day: 1936.
See more photos here.
1Chaplin evidently made one more trip to Bali in 1961. Even less is known about this visit. His impressions of his first visit can be found in his travel memoir A Comedian Sees The World and My Autobiography.
2Singapore Free Press, April 8, 1936
3Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1936. Chaplin also discussed the Bali film with Jean Cocteau aboard the Tashima Maru in May 1936.
4The film is referred in the Archive as “The Bali Story,” but according to Maurice Bessy, the film at one point had a name. In late 1936, Chaplin told him: “I’ve abandoned The Wild Woman of Bali, but I’ve still promised Paulette a script, which I’ll direct.” (Bessy, Charlie Chaplin, 1985). It should also be pointed out that Chaplin began the script following his first visit in 1932. He continued to expand upon it for the next ten years.