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

Pages: 9

Languages : English, Khmer

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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:

©Roy Export Company Ltd
©Roy Export Company Ltd
©Roy Export Company Ltd
©Roy Export Company Ltd

(Photos 1,2,3, with Paulette Goddard; photo 4, with Victor Goloubew)

Tags: cinema, celebrities, Khmer culture

About the Author

Darryl Collins

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.

Khmer Times Obituary.