City Lights (1931) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A tramp falls in love with a beautiful blind girl. Her family is in financial trouble. The tramp's on-and-off friendship with a wealthy man allows him to be the girl's benefactor and suitor. Runtime: 87 mins Release Date: 06 Mar 1931
Lady and the Tramp, before animation and at the start of talkies- one of the most wonderful films ever conceived and executed (by Quinoa1984)
If there is one Charlie Chaplin film to recommend, as others have pointed to in the past, City Lights is the one. Though Chaplin played his Tramp character superbly in other movies, like Modern Times and The Gold Rush, City Lights displays the Tramp at his funniest, his bravest, his most romantic, and his most sympathetic. It's tough for filmmakers in recent days to bring the audience so close emotionally with the characters, but it's pulled off. The film centers on three characters- the Tramp, the quintessential, funny homeless man who blends into the crowd, but gets caught in <more>
predicaments. He helps a drunken businessman Myers, a fine performance in his own right from suicide, and becomes his on and off again friend that is, when it suits him and doesn't notice his 'friend's' state . The other person in the Tramp's life is the Blind Flower Girl Virginia Cherrill, one of the most absorbing, beautiful, and key female performances in silent film , who are quite fond of each other despite the lack of total perception. The emotional centerpiece comes in obtaining rent and eye surgery money, which leads to a how else can I put it magical boxing match where it's basically a 180 from the brutality and viscerality of a match in say Raging Bull. Though there is no dialog, the film achieves a timelessness- it's essentially a tale of two loners who find each other, lose each other, and find each other again the last scene, widely discussed by critics for decades, is moving if not tear-inducing . And it's never, ever boring- once you get along with the Tramp, you find the little things about him, the reaction shots, the little things he does after the usual big gag look to the ballroom scene for examples of this, or when he gets a bottle of wine poured down his pants without the other guy noticing . Truth be told, if this film makes you indifferent, never watch Chaplin again. But if you give yourself to the film, you may find it's one of the most charming from the era, or perhaps any era.
You can't go wrong with Charlie Chaplin, but City Lights is even better than Chaplin's films usually are. (by Anonymous_Maxine)
Chaplin takes himself a little more seriously in City Lights, and the results are spectacular. The musical score which Chaplin composed for the film was one of the many highlights, and even though Charlie's performance is much more dramatic than usual in some scenes, the hilarious comedy for which he is known and loved is still abundant. City Lights is so well made that it is one of the very few movies in which the obvious flaws can be gladly overlooked. Yes, you can clearly see the string holding Chaplin up in the sidesplittingly funny boxing scene, but who cares? That is such classic <more>
slapstick that little things like that really don't matter. Besides, let's keep in mind that this movie was made seventy years ago. Chaplin does a phenomenal job in his traditional role of the tramp, and develops a perfectly convincing romantic relationship with the blind flower girl on the sidewalk. His friendship with the drunken rich guy is hilarious, but it also makes a significant comment about the problems of alcohol. This is truly a great film, which should not be forgotten.
Chaplin's Masterpiece...and Oh Those Last Five Minutes! (by EUyeshima)
Let me join the consensus and call Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" a masterpiece. It's only 81 minutes long, but they are among the best 81 minutes you could spend at the movies, and the last five minutes are simply exquisite. Keep your Kleenex box at arm's length as I doubt if there has been a more honestly heartbreaking scene captured on film. When the formerly blind girl gives the Little Tramp a flower and ultimately says "Yes, I can see now", the scene takes on such emotional gravity as to defy explanation.Chaplin was at his zenith in 1928 when he started a <more>
journey of more than two years to develop and film this story, and the Little Tramp had already been a familiar character to audiences for over a decade. He had already made the classics "The Gold Rush" 1925 and "The Circus" 1928 starring his character, so it's obvious he felt a need to take a slightly different direction and deepen the character this time. The advent of talkies didn't stop Chaplin from making this "Comedy Romance in Pantomime" as he subtitled it , as he knew giving the Little Tramp a voice would limit his appeal as a universal character. What I particularly enjoyed in this film is how the Little Tramp fancies himself as a well-mannered gentleman in spite of all the circumstances that bring him down, even going to prison for love. It is this self-delusion and his subsequent mistaken identity as a millionaire that leads him to the blind flower girl, played in an effectively plaintive manner by Virginia Cherrill. Her performance is a greatly underrated element in this film, as she displays the right amount of vacant innocence to make the last minutes so memorable. Simply compare her to the screen test shown of Georgia Hale, Chaplin's leading lady in "The Gold Rush" and an obviously more experienced actress than Cherrill, as Hale struggles to show the right balance between condescension and beatific revelation when she realizes the Little Tramp is the "wealthy" gentleman who paid for the restoration of her sight.Of course, this would not be a Chaplin film without the brilliance of his comedy routines and there is a treasure trove of classic scenes - the rising and lowering of the street elevator, the shifting musical chairs scene at the nightclub, the mock suicide at the canal and especially the boxing scene, which has been imitated by so many lesser filmmakers and was according to the footage included as a DVD extra, inspired by an earlier Chaplin short "The Champion" from 1915 . Even a simple moment, for example, when the Little Tramp mistakes a piece of thread from his vest for a ball of twine, is impressive for the sheer delicacy of the moment. And special mention needs to go to Chaplin's musical score, where he beautifully interweaves José Padilla's "La Violetta" as his love theme.The transfer to DVD is very good, and the 2-DVD set has plenty of extras though they vary in quality. The Serge Bromberg documentary provides an informative supplement to the film, and the footage of Chaplin from a Vienna press tour is fascinating since it captures the long-forgotten worldwide frenzy he created back then. The aforementioned Georgia Hale screen test is a worthwhile addition but runs on a bit too long. The 10-minute home movie of Chaplin's trip to Bali has a certain anthropological interest but seems rather pointless otherwise. Regardless, the movie itself is rewarding enough and an exquisite jewel that completely justifies Chaplin's reputation as one of the world's leading filmmakers.
A one-man virtuoso performance (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
Once again Chaplin plays his famous creation, the beloved Tramp The noble Little Fellow meets and falls in love with a blind flower girl She assumes he is wealthy man and offers him a flower, which he attentively accepts with his last penny One night by chance he rescues a drunken millionaire from drowning The rich gentleman becomes a generous friend when drunk but doesn't recognize the tramp when sober Chaplin takes the blind girl under his wing, and takes flight with the millionaire's money to cure her blindness "City Lights" engaged a true genius in a graceful <more>
and touching performance which arouses profound feelings and joy with great simplicity of style and tragic tale Each scene was the result of hard-working detail and planning
City Lights is simply put one of the best movies out there. Every scene is classic and had a huge impact on the history of film-making. Chaplin's last 'silent' film tells the story of a poor little man the tramp played by Chaplin who falls in love with a blind flower girl. He becomes friends with a wealthy man who constantly tries to commit suicide. The man only recognizes the tramp character when he is drunk. To impress the flower girl the tramp uses the man's wealth to make her fall in love with him. The only problem is that when the man is sober he doesn't recognize the <more>
tramp anymore. On top of this the flower girl has to pay 22 dollars of rent or she will be thrown out of her apartment. Now the tramp desperately seeks for jobs in the city to help his love. Out of this simple plot great comedy and heart breaking moments come forth.The outcome of the movie is to almost all people known. It is regarded as one of the best endings ever taped on film. The movie itself still is masterpiece more than 70 years after it's release. I personally rate this as Chaplin's second best I have seen so far. My favorite remains The Gold Rush. Still this movie gets 5/5 stars from me.
One Of Chaplin''s Best & Most Endearing Films (by ccthemovieman-1)
I always thought this was one of Charlie Chaplin's nicest, most under-appreciated silent movie gems. Then I discovered it really wasn't underrated; it's rated very high on most critics' lists. It may be that I usually hear about some of his other movies than I do this one.Part of the reason I think so highly of this is simply that I'm a sentimentalist and story in this film is a very touching one. It's a romance between Charlie's tramp character no name and a blind girl, who also had no name in this film. Virginia Cherill, who played the blind woman and had a <more>
wholesome, pretty face which I found very attractive.I'm not always a huge fan of pantomime except for some great comedians of the era like Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, but Chaplin was so good at it and this is one of the last of dying breed as "talkies" were out in full force by 1931. Chaplin was at his best in silent movies, anyway, and his comedy routines are legendary. He gave me a lot of laughs in this film, as always, and I particularly laughed I love slapstick at the boxing scene. Kudos, too, to Harry Myers as the "eccentric millionaire."There's a lot of drama as well as humor in this 86-minute gem as the Tramp tries to aid a blind girl, raising money so she can get an operation to restore her sight.Comedy, romance, drama with suffering all combine to make this an extraordinary piece of entertainment. It's hard to believe this movie was not up for one, single Academy Award.
The tramp tries to nurture and help a blind flower girl regain sight despite scant resources and the prejudices and graft of the big city. Although the physical gags lack the large-scale invention of the factory scenes in Modern Times and the criticism of the wealthy doesn't transcend an admittedly witty recurring jokethe aristocrat friend can only demonstrate compassion and friendliness in an inebriated state; he's always inviting the tramp in, only to incredulously throw him out the next sober morningthe tramp's touching earnestness in rescuing his angel from a life of <more>
abjection is simple and selfless and deeply moving. I would say it also fades out at the perfect moment of open-ended ambiguitythe viewer is forced to make resonant meaning out of the final troublingly cathartic shot, even as the film articulates a consistent worldview in relation to what has come before. In my eyes, Modern Times is Chaplin's masterpiece, but City Lights would probably better merit repeat viewings, which is as much a testament to the film's power as anything else.
Why I prefer GOLD RUSH to CITY LIGHTS (by charlytully)
10. GOLD RUSH is based on an actual event.9. CITY LIGHTS makes you fill in your own ending.8. GOLD RUSH was important enough for Charles Chaplin to make a abridged version for those with attention deficit disorders.7. CITY LIGHTS makes light of drunk driving, which is a real problem.6. GOLD RUSH deals with the horrors of cannibalism, a worthwhile topic.5. CITY LIGHTS implies major sporting events can be fixed.4. GOLD RUSH shows how knowing the right people can make you a "multi-millioinaire."3. CITY LIGHTS implies rich people will give with one hand, but take away with the other.2. <more>
GOLD RUSH has the "roll dance."1. CITY LIGHTS ends with a close-up of Charles Chaplin grinning like the T-rex that swallowed Manhattan.
Charlie Chaplin made some extremely funny shorts but of his longer films, this is one of the best, along with "The Gold Rush" and "Modern Times." Two stories are woven together. One is Charlie's on-again off-again friendship with a wealthy drunk. The guy has a case of multiple personality. When drunk he showers Charlie with friendship and gifts. When he's sober he doesn't recognize Charlie at all.The second story involves a pretty, blind flower girl who, given certain distances, angles, and lighting, resembles Uma Thurman. Charlie falls for her and accepts a <more>
thousand dollars from the drunken rich guy in order to pay for the operation that will refurbish her eyeballs.Charlie is accused of stealing the thousand bucks but when he appeals to the rich guy, he's sober and won't support Charlie's story. Charlie manages to get the money to the girl anyway but then is picked up by the police and spends some time in jail. When he emerges from the Crowbar Hotel, broke and bitter, he bumps into the now sighted girl and she recognizes him by his voice and the feel of his hands. The happy ending.There's sentimentality in the story of course. There often is in Chaplin's later films. But, as usual, it's somehow tempered. Here, it's undercut by irony.When Charlie meets the wealthy toff, the guy is about to kill himself because his wife left him. He ties a noose around his neck and a big rock to the other end of the rope. He's about to hurl himself and the rock into the river when Charlie intervenes, gives him a pep talk, and changes his mind. His spirit revived, the rich guy spread his arms to the sky, dropping the boulder that falls on Charlie's foot.And when Chaplin meets the blind flower girl, she's enthralled by his gentleness. Unseen by her, the smitten Charlie tip toes behind her to the nearby water fountain where she fills a pail. Her expression is dreamy and far away as the pail fills. Charlie is sitting on a bench next to the fountain, himself enraptured. Then she empties the pail by throwing the water in Charlie's face. Well, it's not the blind Mr. Muckle busting all the light bulbs in W. C. Fields' general store, but what is? A note. There have been some comic prize fights recorded on film, not counting the Dempsey-Tunney debacle, but I don't think any are as funny as the one Chaplin has choreographed here.It's hard to imagine the kind of talent that could pull off a story like this in a medium like this. Black and white, and silent. Applause, please.