Friday, May 31, 2013

Film Concert The Idle Class (Charles Chaplin / Frank Strobel / RSO)

Joutilas luokka / Fåfäng gå...US © 1921 Charles Chaplin Productions. Initial distributor: First National. P+D+SC: Charles Chaplin. DP: Roland H. Totheroh. AD: Charles D. Hall. C: Charlie Chaplin (tramp / husband), Edna Purviance (neglected wife), Mack Swain (Edna's father), Lita Grey (maid).  584 m / 21 fps / 25 min. Filmphilharmonic Edition. Film by courtesy of Roy Export Company S.A.S. Music by courtesy of Bourne Music Co.
    M (1971): Charles Chaplin. M associate (1971): Eric James. Arranged for live performance by: Carl Davis.
    Conducted by Frank Strobel, played by Radion Sinfoniaorkesteri / The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra at a strength of 50 players.
    Projected at 35 mm with e-subtitles in Finnish by Saara Vironmäki. Musiikkitalo, Helsinki, 31 May 2013.

One of Chaplin's last shorts, The Idle Class was made as a part of the distribution contract with First National. It was a chore, and the result is not one of Chaplin's best, but there are things to savour. Charlie plays a double role as an idle tramp and as an idle gentleman. The tramp dreams of Edna, the gentleman is married to her but neglects her, being an alcoholic. A masked ball is the setting for the confrontation. There is a caveman, a policeman, and a Marie Antoinette (Edna), Charlie the tramp in his usual costume, and Charlie the gentleman in a suit of armour. The best scene of the movie is the moment of recognition, which resonates even with the ending of City Lights. Edna realizes that Charlie the tramp is someone who really recognizes her, although the social abyss is unbridgeable. Charlie the tramp is really a bum, a selfish and brutal figure, although he has a naïve dream vision of happiness with Edna, riding to the rescue on his donkey.

Magnificent music provides a Chaplinesque contrast to the appearance of the tramp. An inspired performance by RSO led by Frank Strobel.

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