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City Lights

City Lights

Genders: Romance, Drama, Comedy

Director: Charles Chaplin

Writer: Charles Chaplin

Actors: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers

Year: 1931
Run time: 1h 27min
IMDB score: 8.6
Updated: 2 years ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: City Lights

Genders: Romance, Drama, Comedy

Imdb Score: 8.6

Runtime: 1h 27min

Released: 07 Mar 1931

Director: Charles Chaplin

Writer: Charles Chaplin

Actors: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers

Company: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Imdb Link

City Lights Available Subtitles

English subtitles City Lights2 years ago
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Arabic subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Hebrew subtitles City Lights4 years ago
French subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Bulgarian subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Chinese subtitles City Lights4 years ago
French subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Brazilian Portuguese subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Dutch subtitles City Lights4 years ago
English subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Macedonian subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Turkish subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Spanish subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Croatian subtitles City Lights4 years ago
Greek subtitles City Lights5 years ago

Trailer


Review

Amusing comedy sets up SPECTACULAR ending

5/10 This is my favorite Chaplin film, but I don't want that to diminish his other work, either. MODERN TIMES was an outstanding work of social satire, THE GOLD RUSH was great slapstick, and even the largely-neglected MONSIEUR VERDOUX strikes a certain unforgettable tone. Chaplin didn't make a bad movie, and I'm not even sure that CL is his best, exactly. But it IS my favorite, if only for the ending.

That ending has been the subject of much comment here. I think it's a masterpiece in a single scene. Chaplin's little tramp has never seemed less like a character and more like a living, breathing human being. It's a monument to understated sentimentality.

To me, the rest of the film exists largely to set the context for that one magnificent piece of celluloid. Yes, the boxing scene is great, and the scene where he rescues the millionaire is also wonderful, but it's that ending that makes us all love this movie.

4 years ago

Chaplin's Masterpiece...and Oh Those Last Five Minutes!

5/10 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 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 Jose 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.

4 years ago

You can't go wrong with Charlie Chaplin, but City Lights is even better than Chaplin's films usually are.

10/10 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 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.

4 years ago

Lady and the Tramp, before animation and at the start of talkies- one of the most wonderful films ever conceived and executed

10/10 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 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.

4 years ago

A one-man virtuoso performance

9/10 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 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

4 years ago