In March 1932, Charles Chaplin traveled from Naples to Singapore on Japanese ocean liner Suwa Maru. On the one day stopover in Suez and Cairo, Charles, with the help of brother Sydney, and most of all of their travel agency Cook, bought a small hand held camera with some Eastman Kodak film stock. With it, he would film his journey to the East, which he apparently started doing when he arrived at Suwa Maru's next port of call, Colombo in Ceylon, and then inland to the old city of Kandy. The camera held by Charlie did not go unnoticed. When he visited the Kandy market, the Ceylon Daily News was there to report it, making it a headline: “Charlie and His Camera”.
From Ceylon, Charlie went on to Singapore. He did not film in Singapore as there appears to be no footage of his stopover in Chaplin's archive.
Charlie traversed the island of Java by car and train, during which time Charlie started filming more and more. There are several interesting images of Borobudur and its surrounding filmed by the Chaplins. There is also some footage showing Charlie meeting with the colonial Dutch authorities as well as with representatives of the local film industry. This footage was filmed either by Sydney Chaplin, or (when Sydney is also seen on the same footage as Charlie), by Charlie's Japanese valet, Toraichi Kono, who accompanied them.
It is on the island of Bali that Chaplin was most inspired to film, recording as many things as he could, from the dances and ceremonies t in villages like Bedulu, to daily street and market scene
This Chaplin footage constitutes a large part of this documentary, as it is an invaluable source of documentation and information. It must also be noted for its artistic quality,
The Chaplin Association and its associated company, Roy Export S.A.S, which holds the rights to the Chaplin archive, kindly contributed this precious historical footage to the making of the film.