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A Countess from Hong Kong

A Countess from Hong Kong is a 1967 British comedy film and the last film directed, written, produced and scored by Charlie Chaplin. It was one of two films Chaplin directed in which he did not play a major role (the other was 1923's A Woman of Paris), and his only color film. Chaplin's cameo marked his final screen appearance. The movie starred Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Tippi Hedren, and Sydney Earle Chaplin, Chaplin's third son.

The story is based loosely on the life of a woman Chaplin met in France, named Moussia Sodskaya, or "Skaya" as he calls her in his 1922 book, My Trip Abroad. She was a Russian singer and dancer that "was a stateless person marooned in France without a passport". The idea, according to a press release written by Chaplin after the movie received a negative reception, "resulted from a visit I made to Shanghai in 1931 where I came across a number of titled aristocrats who had escaped the Russian Revolution. They were destitute and without a country, their status was of the lowest grade. The men ran rickshaws and the women worked in ten-cent dance halls. When the second World War broke out many of the old aristocrats had died and the younger generation migrated to Hong Kong where their plight was even worse, for Hong Kong was overcrowded with refugees." It was originally started as a film called Stowaway in the 1930s, planned for Paulette Goddard, but production was never completed. This resulting film, created nearly 30 years after its inception, was a critical failure and grossed US$2,000,000 from a US$3,500,000 budget. However, it did prove to be extremely successful in Italy. In addition, the success of the music score was able to cover the budget.

Critics such as Tim Hunter and Andrew Sarris, as well as the poet John Betjeman and the director François Truffaut viewed the film as being among Chaplin's best works. Actor Jack Nicholson is also a big fan of the film.

The film's theme music, written by Chaplin, became the hit song "This Is My Song" for Petula Clark — a UK no. 1 and US no. 3.

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