Thursday, July 04, 2013

The Adventurer (2013 restoration)

Progetto Chaplin
Seikkailija / L'evaso. US 1917. D: Charles Chaplin. SC: Charles Chaplin. DP: Roland Totheroh. C: Charles Chaplin (l'evaso), Edna Purviance (una ragazza), Henry Bergman (suo padre/un operaio), Martha Golden (sua madre), Eric Campbell (il suo innamorato), Albert Austin (maggiordomo), Toraichi Kono (chauffeur), John Rand (invitato), Frank J. Coleman (secondino grosso), Loyal Underwood (invitato piccolo), May White (signora imponente), Janet Miller Sully, Monta Bell. P: Charles Chaplin per Lone Star Mutual. Premiere: 22 ottobre 1917. 2K DCP. 2 bobine / 2 reels. B&w. English intertitles with Italian subtitles. Da: Blackhawk Collection / Lobster Films. Piazza Maggiore (Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna), 4 July 2013

Presenta Alexander Payne
Accompagnamento al piano di Neil Brand

Restored in 2013 by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in collaboration with Lobster Films and Film Preservation Associates. This restoration © 2013 Film Preservation Associates.

Restoration supported by Alexander Payne

"Chaplin's last film with Mutual, The Adventurer seems once again, as David Robinson notes and judging from the surviving outtakes, to be the product of a creative crisis. With this particular film, however, and contrary to his usual methods, Chaplin analyzed in detail the gag of the ice cream dripping down the woman's neck to illustrate, in the most universal way, some of the mechanisms at the heart of his comedy: "The first laugh came at my embarrassment over my own predicament. The second, and the much greater one, came when ice cream landed on the woman's neck and she shrieked and started to dance around. Only one incident had been used, but it had got two people into trouble and had also got two big laughs. Simple as this trick seems, there were two real points of human nature involved in it. One was the delight the average person takes in seeing wealth and luxury in trouble. The other was the tendency of the human being to experience within himself the emotions he sees on the stage or screen. One of the things most quickly learned in theatrical work is that people as a whole get satisfaction from seeing the rich get the worst of things. The reason for this, of course, lies in the fact that nine tenths of people in the world are poor, and secretly resent the wealth of the other tenth. If I had dropped the ice cream, for example, on a scrub- woman's neck, instead of getting laughs sympathy would have aroused for the woman. [...] By saying that human beings experience the same emotions as the people in the incident they witness, I meant that - taking ice cream as an example - when the rich woman shivered the audience shivered with her. [...] Knowing that ice cream is cold, the audience shivers. If something was used that the audience did not recognize at once, it would not be able to appreciate the point as well"."

Alexander Payne gave his introduction in Italian and English. "As a teenager I started collecting 8 mm Blackhawk films, and The Adventurer was my greatest favourite. At the UCLA it was a thrill for me to have David Shepard as my teacher. In About Schmidt the trailer used by the title character, played by Jack Nicholson, is called The Adventurer. Every day I drive past the Pacific Ocean, past the locations used in the film. Tonight will be the first projection of the restored version."

I love The Adventurer, and in the film societies of my school and student days we often had extra screenings of this film on 16 mm, sometimes also playing it even backwards. I never get tired of the grace of the movement and the delicious hamming in this film.

I am a bit puzzled by the visual quality of this version; I'm surprised if this is as good as it gets.

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