Charles Chaplin says the story was inspired by a trip he made to Shanghai in 1931 but, though the period has been updated, the style of his screenplay and direction are obstinately reminiscent of the 1930s.
Countess is what may be described as a romantic comedy. It has a nebulous plot, slim characterizations and all the trappings of an old-fashioned bedroom farce.
Sophia Loren, who radiates an abundance of charm, plays a Russian emigree countess who, after a night out on the town in Hong Kong with Marlon Brando, stows away in his cabin with the intention of getting to New York. Although the story barely taxes her acting resources, Loren adds a quality to every scene in which she appears. She is stylish, classy and striking. Brando, on the other hand, appears ill at ease in what should have been a light comedy role.
Sydney Chaplin as Brando’s cruising companion gives a thoroughly reliable performance, while Tippi Hedren, as Brando’s wife, is superb in her few scenes at the tail-end of the picture.