The Freak

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The Freak was an unfinished dramatic comedy from Charles Chaplin. The 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.

Chaplin began work in and around 1969 with his daughter Victoria in mind for the lead role. However, Victoria's abrupt marriage and his advanced age proved roadblocks and the film was never made. Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance maintains that Chaplin script for The Freak "borrows many themes, ideas, and even phrases from his three previous films but is nevertheless an original story filled with marvelous Chaplin comedy touches". Vance, who interviewed Victoria Chaplin, believes The Freak "had strong potential for being a very moving—and fitting—swan song".[1] Chaplin's memoir, My Life in Pictures (1974), describes The Freak as a work still in progress. He also mentioned his intent to make it in an interview on his 85th birthday in 1974. "I mean to make it someday", Chaplin writes in a caption alongside a photograph of Victoria in winged costume published in My Life in Pictures. No footage from the film is known to exist, though brief color footage of Victoria in wings can be seen in Charlie Chaplin – Les années suisses (2003).

Further reading

  • Interview from Independent Film Quarterly
  • The official Charlie Chaplin website
  • Selection from Chaplin in the Sound Era: An Analysis of the Seven Talkies by Eric L. Flom
  • Pierre Smolik. The Freak: Chaplin's Last Film. Call Me Edouard Publishers. Vevey. 2016.


  1. ^ Vance, Jeffrey (2003). Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema. New York: Harry N. Abrams, pg. 352. ISBN 0-8109-4532-0.
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