A Woman of Paris Music
The dilemma of the 1977 version of the score to A Woman of Paris is a complex one, and for me, a source of mixed feelings. On behalf of the Chaplin estate, and of behalf of the composer himself, the primary objective has always been to restore the Chaplin scores as close (as I can come) to how Chaplin would have heard them himself. In the case of Modern Times, it was a painstaking 14 months of solid meticulous work, and City Lights and The Circus: being much the same. However for A Woman of Paris my 8th score restoration for the Chaplins, the goal was the same, but more than few educated guesses and well-thought-out liberties had to be taken. This was a very different kind of restoration.
When preparations for the re-release of A Woman of Paris were being made in 1976, Chaplin’s health was in full decline. He had had a stroke and it was only with great effort he had managed to complete the work required of him. Like the other re-issues up to this time, The Circus, The Kid, Sunnyside, Pay Day, The Idle Class and A Day’s Pleasure, Chaplin had composed music (with the assistance of Eric James) for them all. 226 minutes of fully orchestrated scores in 6 years time, from the composer’s age of 81 to 87. But for A Woman of Paris the last film to be re-released, Chaplin’s health had deteriorated rather significantly, and due to the efforts of James and others, a “Chaplin” score had been created by means of using some previously un-used compositions and by James’ emulation of the Chaplin style, which he knew well after some 18 years of working with him.