Movie Classics: Has CHAPLIN Found His Great Love At Last?

Movie Classic, the monthly Screen Magazine which reported on the lives of movie stars and kept us up-to-date on the latest gossip, is presented here in part, from August, 1933. Here are some snippits from the magazine; some articles, newsreel photos and a good selection of advertisments, giving us a nostalgic glimpse into some of the styles and tastes of Hollywood in the 1930’s.

Charlie isn’t “the loneliest star in Hollywood” any longer. He’s a new Chaplin, who goes places, does things, and looks happy. The reason is young Paulette Goddard – and their romance!

The saddest and the loneliest man in the movies has found his great love at last. Charlie Chaplin has been caught in the toils of a single romantic spell for more than a year that of the mysteriously attractive Paulette Goddard. And in the process he has discovered not only companionship but also perhaps, for the first time in his experience – real happiness. He goes places, he does things, he loves life anew. And, above all, he feels the magic of inspiration.

Before the year is over, Charlie will have made another picture – and this is no idle dream. He has plunged into work assiduously. He shuts himself up like a hermit when the urge is on, yet meanwhile he has also renewed many of his human contacts. He has found a brand new recreational interest, and that is water travel. Nearly every weekend he spends aboard his boat, the Panacea, named so because Charlie describes it as a “cure for all ills.” Meaning chiefly by this, that the relaxation his maritiming has afforded has been of enormous benefit to his health.

Charlie may even go cruising to the South Seas in the sixty-foot yacht, although his picture making will probably claim him before this comes about. Fantastic stories have been circulated that he and Paulette Goddard are already married and will be separated and divorced at some stopping place on the voyage. The tale of their being wedded is widespread, the ceremony supposedly having occurred somewhere in mid-ocean. But this seems to be pretty much of a fable, and is met only with denials or light evasions by the two principals. Their close friends, who may or may not know anything, doubt the truth of the legend.

He Likes His Freedom

MARRIAGE is not something that Chaplin would exactly leap into now after two dismaying ventures. With him, the far princess” would always hold more allure than the conventional mate. As one of Charlie’s close friends once said to me: “Marriage implies chains binding him, inhibiting his freedom, and his natural inclination would be to break them. Yet he might even be happy with a wife, if he didn’t have to become acquainted with the relatives.” It isn’t the social graces that irk Chaplin; it’s the bounden duties and dull, necessary obligations.

If there is one person who apparently has liberated him from these, it is Paulette Goddard. She has been the ideal companion for him, a delightful, gay and genial companion, happy above everything to listen to Charlie, to talk with him, and to accompany him wherever his fancy might dictate. And that range is large, indeed.

But they seem also to go to places that Charlie didn’t formerly frequent. Together they take in the more interesting play premieres. They lunch and occasionally dine at the Brown Derby, Levy’s, or other populous Hollywood cafes. They dance at the Cocoanut Grove. He has even gone shopping with Paulette. And that means that they are doing what other Hollywood folk are doing, and enjoying it. If Charlie enjoys these diversions, there must be a good live reason for it all – and that is somebody who will constantly and joyfully go with him.

Paulette is a bit of a mystery to Hollywood. But according to what looks like reliable information, she is now twenty-two (her birthday is June 2); she was born in Great Neck, Long Island, swanky New York suburb; she was divorced last year from Edgar James Goddard, wealthy young North Carolina lumber man; and she is supposed to have considerable money in her own right. She got her stage start at the age of fifteen by being signed by the late Great Glorifier, Florenz Ziegfeld, for the chorus of “Rio Rita.” She entered the movies as a leading lady in Hal Roach comedies.

His Lonely Days Are Over

WITH Paulette at his side, Charlie has passed out of the “lonely man” stage. It’s one thing he can’t indulge any more, anyway. There are too many people who know him.

Once upon a time, he used to gaze pensively into store windows as, by himself, he walked down the Boulevard at midnight, doubtless recalling his early childhood poverty and window gazing. There were earlier times when he mingled with the crowd, a plaintive figure, observing and seeking out those human motifs that he later turned into gorgeous laughter with a curious undercurrent of sadness. There were other times when he appeared almost surprisingly in public with Mildred Harris Chaplin or Lira Grey Chaplin during his respective marriages to them. And again, there were occasions when his only associates were men – the chaps who worked with him on his pictures, or helped to stimulate inspiration for his film-making, like Harry d’Arrast, Harry Crocker, Carlyle Robinson, Monta Bell, his brother, Syd, and others on whom he seemed to rely.

Through the years, Charlie has retained most of these friendships, but he has been disillusioned by dozens of others. He loathes being taken advantage of, and he has found many who became advantage-takers after a close association, or even on short acquaintance. It might be just some trivial form of self-exploitation, when somebody utilized the Chaplin friendship as a means to ballyhoo the sale, say, of some choice antiques that he happened to possess, or traded on a few pleasant meetings with the comedian as an aid to selling Charlie a scenario – something he never buys. He has been cultivated, often relentlessly, by all kinds of petty self-seekers.

Is it any wonder that he has hidden from the world? That he has become more and more inaccessible as time has gone on? That he has seemed to become always more shy and retiring – yet showing flashes of strange pride that could easily he mistaken for crass vanity? (As when he refused to see a certain writer because the man intended to “lump” Chaplin in an article with others, rather than regard him as unique and separate.)

Chaplin, during this time, became a very erratic personage. He was difficult to approach, difficult for the majority to people to understand. You had to slip up on him unawares if you wanted to talk to him. He wouldn’t make appointments, and if he did, he was likely not to keep them except under great duress. He rebelled whole-heartedly against any stiff and formal social engagements. He would give time only to his group of coworkers, to Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and a few other people, who are known as his bosom friends. He was well-nigh misanthropic.

The Chaplin of today hasn’t changed his habits altogether, but his mood has mellowed. He has a greater and more human interest now in the things about him. Most of all, he enjoys life, with a newfound exuberance. He is like the old Chaplin.

His world trip had something to do with this, perhaps, for he had fun out of that – so much fun that he was tempted to write a series of articles about it. But the true beginning was during those gay and merry days of the summer of a year ago when beauty invaded Hollywood, as beauty never had invaded before. It all began during the filming of Eddie Cantor’s “The Kid from Spain” – when admirers of feminine charm flocked to the United Artists Studio, and Chaplin (very artfully and slyly) was among them.

Paulette Goddard, of course, was in that chorus. I heard her name chanted the very first day I was on the set. She had registered as both fascinating and different. She wasn’t one of the throng. She was more beauteous and distinctive than the rest, even though she had become, for the nonce, a blonde.

She wasn’t among the beauties photographed in every still that came along. She avoided the obvious in publicity, and only a few of the pictures show her eerie radiance of countenance, and her thatch of platinum-like hair, and that dazzling, self-sufficient, but very feminine air that doubtless attracted Chaplin.

Charlie has remarked of her more than once that she is “wonderful,” and has indicated that he considers her very beautiful. “She has a light,” he avers, suggesting by his gesture that it spreads from her forehead.

That he was originally caught by her personality at the time she appeared in the Cantor picture is in some ways remarkable, for despite the fact that she did attract much individual attention, she was not the unusual type that she is to-day. Blonde hair makes all women more or less alike in the movie colony. It is supposed to soften the face, but in Paulette’s case it had exactly the opposite effect. Since she has permitted her hair to become its more natural brunette shade, she is infinitely less flaunting and brittle looking than formerly; she exhibits a more delicate and better-molded beauty. Hollywood admits to seeing in her far more than at the outset. The colony never felt then that she had a future professionally. Once more, therefore, Charlie appears as the discoverer.

Will Be His Leading Lady

MISS GODDARD has definitely refused contract offers from several studios. She is waiting for her debut with Chaplin and Charlie forecasts that it will be a more glamorous one, possibly, than any leading woman has ever enjoyed in any of his productions.An appearance in a Chaplin picture always will be, probably, a plum for any young woman seeking a film career. Whether Paulette is intent on such a career is still a debatable question. It’s possible that her ambition is far more intimate, and also more permanent than that. She’s smart; everybody says that – even Charlie, himself.

Once, when Charlie was shopping with Paulette, he remarked to a woman friend who chanced to meet him: “You have no idea what a sensible girl she is – so much more sensible than most girls. She is very canny. She has her own money, and she takes excellent care of it. She is particular about finances, and I admire her independence. Too, she knows exactly what she wants to buy, and how much she wants to pay for it. Her taste is exceptional.”

She has outwitted all the wiseacres who thought they knew all about Charlie, and his fitfulness and changeability. She may be Mrs. Chaplin already, but she can keep a secret as well as the comedian, himself. And that’s keeping one!

Personally, I don’t think Charlie and Paulette are married, but I believe they will be. Either their wedding – or the revelation of a wedding that has already taken place – will come as the climax of the picture, for apparently they both have a sense of the dramatic. It wouldn’t be half so exciting to see Charlie in a film with his wife, as with the girl with whom he has been deeply in love. Head over heels this time! Although perhaps he doesn’t realize it. I wonder, though, if Paulette doesn’t know!