Editorial

Unique roman de Charlie Chaplin

Un roman de Charlie Chaplin a été édité pour la première fois par la Cinémathèque de Bologne, à l’occasion des 100 ans de la naissance du personnage de Charlot. Ce livre, Footlights, est le seul que Charlie Chaplin ait écrit.

Comment cela se fait-il que ce manuscrit ait été mis de côté pendant autant d’années est une chose, mais représente-t-il quelque chose d’exceptionnel, hormis le nom de son auteur? On connaît le génie de Chaplin, pour le cinéma. le jeu, la scénarisation d’idées à mettre en images. On connaît aussi sa musique parfaitement sirupeuse, mais agréable à entendre. Le ton Chaplin se retrouvera-t-il dans ces pages inédites?

Pour s’en donner une idée rapide, voici le seul extrait lisible sur le net, en anglais…

img_52f1575deeb5e

EXTRAIT

‘The audience? … why do you hate them? »

He smiled wistfully. « Because I’m old and embittered, I suppose. »

She shook her head without taking her eyes from him. « You’re not old, and I’m sure you’re not embittered – You like people too much. »

« Individually, yes, » he answered, « there’s greatness in everyone. But the audience – they are what they are – a motley confusion of cross purposes. A great star once … hissed off the stage, and then I realized, that could happen to me. You know, as a comedian gets older and loses his exuberance, he has to think analytically about his work – that is, if he wants to continue in the funny business … And about the audience, then I began to fear them … ruthless, unpredictable … like a monster without a head; you never know which way it’s going to turn – it can be prodded in any direction … That’s why I had to take a drink before I could face them. It got to be torture every performance. I never really liked drink, but I couldn’t be funny without it, and the more I drank, » he shrugged.  » … well, it became a vicious circle. »

« What happened? »

« A nervous breakdown. I almost died. »

« And you’re still drinking? »

« Occasionally, when I think of things. » He smiled, « The wrong things, I suppose. However, I’ve talked enough about myself. What would you like for breakfast? »

« What a sad business, being funny, » she said thoughtfully.

The table was laid and now he was ready to cook breakfast. He stood a moment, deep in thought. « But it has its compensations … It’s a great thrill to hear an audience laugh. Now let me see, » he said, opening the door of the larder, « We have eggs, salmon, sardines …  » He snapped his fingers. « That’s broken my dream! I dreamt we were doing an act together! That’s the trouble, I get wonderful ideas in my dreams, but when I awake, I forget them. This morning I found myself shaking with laughter. Then I got up and rushed to the desk and wrote five pages of screams. Then I awoke and found I hadn’t written a line. »

« Frustrating! »

« Yes, I could make a comeback, if I could only remember my dreams. I’ve got to work – not alone for the money, it’ll be good for my soul. »

« I wish I could help. »

« I know I’m funny, » he said emphatically, « but the managers think I’m through … a has-been. God! It would be wonderful to make them eat their words. That’s what I hate about getting old – the contempt and indifference they show you.

« They think I’m useless … a has-been. That’s why it would be wonderful to make a comeback! … I mean sensational! To rock them with laughter like I used to … to hear that roar go up … waves of laughter coming at you, lifting you off your feet … what a tonic! You want to laugh with them, but you hold back and laugh inside … God, there’s nothing like it! » He paused. « As much as I hate those lousy – I love to hear them laugh! »

• From Footlights by Charles Chaplin © 2014 The Roy Export Company Establishment, published by Cineteca di Bologna

Laisser un commentaire

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur comment les données de vos commentaires sont utilisées.