Charlie Chaplin in Angkor
by Darryl Leon Collins
The mega star of silent movies visited Angkor in April 1936, later inspiring many Cambodian comics to adapt the 'Charlot' character as 'Sak-Lo'.
Publication: Sarika Review, vol 5, pp 14-23
Published: October 2002
Author: Darryl Leon Collins
Languages : English, Khmer
In April 1936, Charlie Chaplin (with the actress Paulette Goddard, whom he had secretly married earlier) visited Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat. The visit of the ancient Khmer temples was organized by leading archeologist Victor Goloubew. [Paulette's mother and Charlie's valet were traveling with them].
Before continuing on to Vietnam, Charlie, who with Goddard had just acquired worldwide fame thanks to the movie Modern Times, marveled about the peoples and landscapes of Indochina. Contrary to many Western celebrities attracted to the region for big game hunting, he stressed he had never shot one single bullet in his life and intended to keep it that way.
The author further discusses the impact of the famous silent movie comedian on local artists, recalling how several Cambodian comedians emulated the 'Charlot' (French name) character.
The following images are from The Charlie Chaplin Image Bank:
(Photos 1,2,3, with Paulette Goddard; photo 4, with Victor Goloubew)
- Read also the account by Philip J. Coggan.
- Angkor Database input: in his Journal, archaeologist and architect Henri Marchal, who had received Chaplin and Paulette Godard in Angkor, recalls that the famous actor and movie director confided to thim that he was "glad that the French, with their flair for art and preservation of ancient monuments, are taking a leading part in the preservation of Angkor."
- See rare footage of Charlie Chaplin's 1932 trip to Bali and Java (Charlie Chaplin YouTube Channel, © Roy Export Company Ltd)
About the Author
Darryl Leon Collins
An art teacher and curator in Australia, with a Master of Arts from the Australian University in Canberra and two years at the Department of Fine Arts and Languages Studies at Sophia University (Tokyo), Darryl Collins (1947, Adelaide, Australia -- 25 Apr 2023, Siem Reap, Cambodia) had been living and writing in Cambodia for three decades.
In 2004, he started the Collection Inventory Project as a Cultural consultant for the National Museum of Cambodia. In 2002, he authored with Helen Grant Ross and Hok Sokol the book "Building Cambodia: New Khmer Architecture (1953-1970)", which remains a reference for architects and architecture lovers.
Darryl Collins also actively contributed in the restoration of several emblematic houses around Cambodia, including the Hanchey House in Siem Reap and the 'Chinese House' in Phnom Penh. He also completed a vast study on Khmer traditional wooden houses, released in Feb. 2022.