Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Yes, I Can See Now"

I saw her last night at the India Habitat Centre. Not in person. In the movie "City Lights". I liked her there so I ran a Google search on her and this is what Wikipedia had to say, among other things...

"Virginia Cherrill (April 12, 1908 - November 14, 1996) was an American actress best known for her role as the blind flower girl in Charlie Chaplin's City Lights (1931). Due to marrying an English earl in the 1940s, she is also known as Virginia Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey.

Virginia Cherrill was born on a farm in rural Carthage, Illinois, to James E. and Blanche (née Wilcox) Cherrill. She was a Chicago society girl with no thoughts of a film career when she went to Hollywood for a visit and met Charlie Chaplin when he sat next to her at a boxing match. He had failed to find the girl he wanted for his film but decided she would do and cast her in City Lights in which she gave the performance for which she is remembered, although her working relationship with Chaplin on the film was often strained. As indicated in the documentary Unknown Chaplin, Cherrill was in fact fired from the film at one point and Chaplin planned to refilm all her scenes with Georgia Hale, but ultimately realized too much money had already been spent on the picture; as Cherrill recalls in the documentary, close friend Marion Davies suggested Cherrill hold out for more money when Chaplin asked her to return to the film, and she did."

There's a point in the movie at which Chaplin steals some money so that the girl can pay her rent and get her eyes operated on. When she eventually gets her eyesight back and recognizes Chaplin as her benefactor, she says, to an apprehensive Chaplin, "Yes, I Can See Now". Reading about her real life relationship with Chaplin, I felt so deflated. I don't know if they really had a strained relationship or if this helps in some way to heighten the curiosity about their chemistry. Does reading about it help me conclude that she looks bad-tempered in the photograph above? Is it the reason I chose this snap of hers from all the others on the internet?

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