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Film / A Countess from Hong Kong

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A 1967 Romantic Comedy film written, directed, and scored by Charlie Chaplin, starring Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren. The supporting cast includes Sydney Chaplin, Tippi Hedren, Patrick Cargill, and Margaret Rutherford.

Ogden Mears (Brando), the new U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, is traveling back to America by ship. After a night out in Hong Kong, he ends up with Natascha (Loren), one of the dance hall girls, in his stateroom. She is a Countess from Russia who is stateless with no family, and hopes to stay aboard until she gets to America. However, Mears has a problem: he is starting divorce proceedings and knows Natascha's existence can damage his reputation. So he sets a plan in motion before his wife Martha (Hedren) can arrive.

Chaplin's last film. He had written the original story in the 1930s with an idea of starring in the film himself along with Paulette Goddard. A Troubled Production due to its lead actors' personal disagreements and Chaplin's working method not being to everyone's taste, the film was a critical failure upon release, and did poorly at the box office in both the UK and the US (where it grossed less than $2 million); however, it was a success in Europe and Japan and the soundtrack did well.

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The Film contains the following Tropes:

  • Awful Wedded Life: Ogden is this at the start, he wants a divorce, Martha is a horrible vain woman, to make matters worst when he gets to Saudi Arabia, The US Government want Martha to stay with him as a facade.
  • "Begone" Bribe: Harvey, (Ogden's Lawyer) tries to offer Natascha to tell the captain and leave, when all she wants to do is go to America he offers take her to Japan then to America but it's still no use.
  • Betty and Veronica: In a way Martha is a Betty to Natascha's Veronica, but Martha is a icy bitch, while Natascha is friendly and helpful.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Natascha ends up marrying Hudson, Ogden's Valet a US Citizen to stay in Honolulu, despite lacking a passport the deception works.
  • Closet Shuffle: Every time the steward or whatnot rings the bell Natascha runs for a closet or the bathroom.
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  • Cool Boat: The Ship has everything including a dress shop, shame we don't get to see that much apart from 4 rooms.
  • Creator Cameo: Chaplin pops up a couple of times as a seasick steward.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Natascha and Ogden get together he gives up his job as Ambassador and leaves Martha ending with a dance like the film started.
  • Facial Dialogue: Brando and Loren are skilled at this and do quite well.
  • Friendship as Courtship: When Ogden is seasick, Natascha treats him and slowly they fall in love.
  • Genre Throwback: Anybody that has seen a Screwball Comedy from the 1930's will notice that the film is a parody of such films, also there's plenty of Chaplin's jokes from the silent era that many of his fans will notice.
  • Green Around the Gills: As they try to Bribe Natascha to leave the ship, her, Harvey and Ogden are rushing for portholes and the bathroom, the Old Steward who seen to be fine also starts to suffer as well.
  • Hand-Hiding Sleeves: Ogden tries to buy Natascha clothes so she can hide anywhere else apart from his cabin, the clothes hardly fit. She does use them to get married.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Natascha was when she was a dance hall girl but she's the kindest person once she becomes Ogden friend.
  • Hypochondria : There's Miss Gaulswallow who is a old woman, she hates flowers for 'stealing' her oxygen, she complains about her teddy bears and ends up inhaling her thermometer.
  • No Name Given: Chaplin's final acting appearance is in a cameo as an old steward. Since nearly all of the characters he portrayed in films prior to the 1940s were not identified by name, it is appropriate that his final character also be nameless.
  • Oh, Crap!: There's a couple of these moments in this movie:
    • When Ogden sees that Natascha is dancing which was Harvey's idea due to the repairmen.
    • Then while dancing Natascha bumps into a old client who won't take no for a answer, thankful the guys help her.
    • Then Natascha escapes the ship dressed like a cliff driver to the shock of Harvey.
  • Proper Lady: Despite her penniless status Natascha was trained to be a lady, she speaks with the airs of one and she refuses to wear her evening grown until 11am.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once questions about Natascha's passport and Hudson wanting to do more than just marry Natascha that she leaves the ship, just in time for Martha to arrive.
  • Serious Business: Ogden is about to become Ambassador, he knows that if Martha finds out, the divorce will be a mess and scandal will destroy his political career.
  • Slapstick : When has a Chaplin movie hasn't got some kind of slapstick.
  • The Stateless: Natascha and the other Countess are exiled from Russia, they can't leave Hong Kong as they have no citizenship, so her plight is quite understandable.
  • Stepford Smiler: Martha, Ogden's wife is this throughout the movie, she smiles even when serious she knows the marriage is doomed but she wants money and no scandal. Ogden thankfully leaves her for Natashca.
  • Upper-Class Twit: There's a couple in the dance onboard the ship thankfully they can switch partners.
  • Where It All Began: The Film starts and ends with a dance in a exotic place.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Once Ogden finds Natascha his face clearly displays this.

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