Chanson Du Jour: C’est Ma Chanson

Performed by Petula Clark. Words and music by Charlie Chaplin

Chaplin’s “The Freak”


While driving around the South of France, we listened to the multi-part documentary on Charlie Chaplin on French radio 90.70

This except from the radio program:
“In his mansion, Switzerland Charlie Chaplin enjoyed the happiness of a fulfilled life while continuing to pursue the dream of his work. His daughter, Aurélia Thierrée, unearths some pages of his last unfinished work, The Freak, the mysterious story of a bird woman.”

I understood just enough French to be intrigued by this story, so I researched it a bit online.

“(The Freak) story revolved around a young South American girl who unexpectedly sprouts a pair of wings. She is kidnapped and taken to London, where her captors cash in by passing her off as an angel. Later she escapes, only to be arrested because of her appearance. She is further dehumanized by standing trial to determine if she is human at all.” – Wikipedia

The Daily Mail published this story about “The Freak” revealing that there exists a few sequences of film, never published, shot by Chaplin’s wife Oona in the garden of his Swiss estate in 1974.

In the book’s afterword, Victoria and Michael describe how Chaplin’s family and friends had gathered at Manoir de Ban, when the old wheelchair-bound man suggested Victoria (Chaplin’s then 18 year old daughter) get the wings out of the cellar and put them on.

Victoria Chaplin wearing wings from “The Freak” (photo courtesy of The Nation)

‘Once he saw her with the wings on it was really quite amazing,’ Michael said, recalling how his father ‘got up out of his wheelchair and came down and said: ‘No, no, you’re not doing it right.’ And he became a film director again.’ (Daily Mail)

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