A Woman of Paris is a serious, sincere effort, with a bang story subtlety of idea-expression.
If the sentimental Charlie Chaplin made one outstanding error he did it in casting Edna Purviance, his leading woman of many classic comedies, for the central and stellar role in his first legitimate picture. She is not a sensation. She looks and acts well enough, but she falls short of the fine pace set by the rest of the endeavor.
However, this is not a conspicuous drag on A Woman of Paris. Chaplin, on the other hand, straying far from his haunts of yore, comes forth as a new genius both as a producer and a director.
The finish is as brilliant and as memorable as the Mexico-line finale of The Pilgrim. After the girl has gone through all the vicissitudes of Paris high and low life, her rich ex-lover, driving in the country passes her on the road as she sits on the back of a farmer’s cart with a little orphan. He just whizzes by – that’s all. And it tells more than if he had the conventional breakdown.