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City Lights
Year:
1931
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Romance, Comedy
IMDB rating:
8.5
Director:
Charles Chaplin
Virginia Cherrill as A Blind Girl
Florence Lee as The Blind Girl's Grandmother
Harry Myers as An Eccentric Millionaire
Al Ernest Garcia as The Eccentric Millionaire's Butler (as Allan Garcia)
Hank Mann as A Prizefighter
Storyline: 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.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
HQ DVD-rip 720x480 px 1180 Mb mpeg4 1753 Kbps avi Download
Reviews
One Of Chaplin''s Best & Most Endearing Films
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 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.
2007-07-15
A film masterpiece, despite its flaws
Let's face it: Chaplin's "City Lights" is a great film, but it's not flawless. The inspired bits: Charlie making the acquaintance of the Flower Girl, the boxing match, the achingly beautiful, ambiguous, close of the film where Chaplin walks an emotional tightrope between sentiment and sincerity, and succeeds brilliantly - these are incredible and unforgettable moments in cinema, and Chaplin deserves the plaudits he's received. But such moments are interspersed throughout the film, which is punctuated with long stretches of tedium. Chaplin's inspiration was fitful, and it shows. Nevertheless, on balance, "City Lights" is a masterpiece, rising above it's author's shortcomings to become a cinematic landmark which any student of Film would do well to study.
2002-06-01
Classic Chaplin
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 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.
2005-01-13
Lady and the Tramp, before animation and at the start of talkies- one of the most wonderful films ever conceived and executed
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.
2004-09-12
Great Charlie Chaplin movie along with romance.
I just finished watching this movie for the third time in this month and wow what a great movie is it. Charlie Chaplin was a great comedian and everybody knows that but in this movie along with some great comedy you get to watch some amazing story of romance with emotions and love. In those days there was no sound at all in the movies and the actors have to perform very well in order to convey their messages to the viewers and every single artist in this movie did it beautifully. Virginia Cherrill portrayed the character of blind girl beautifully. I have seen many movies that were made before 2nd world war but with all do respect those were nothing as compare to this movie.

On the whole this movie is great and I recommend it to everyone especially who likes classics and comedy. I give it 10/10.
2006-09-12
The most satisfying cinematic experience I've ever had
By 1930, the silent era was coming to a rapid end. All doubters thinking that the 'talkie' craze would not last were having a wake-up call, and silent geniuses such as Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin, were potentially seeing their highly successful careers melting away. Chaplin began work on City Lights back in 1928, yet a troubled and stressful shoot caused production to run until 1931, when Hollywood had all but given itself over to the new talkie era. Refusing to let go of his most famous creation, The Tramp, Chaplin endured with his vision and kept City Lights silent, seeing no hope for his beloved character in sound pictures. Chaplin shot sporadically, seemingly around one central, and very simple, idea, and managed to create his greatest work, and undoubtedly one of the greatest films of all time.

After a chance encounter with a poor, blind and humble flower girl (Virginia Cherrill), The Tramp falls in love. Smitten, he sits down by the sea where a drunk and eccentric millionaire (Harry Myers) is trying to commit suicide. The Tramp opens the millionaire's eyes to life's simple wonders, so the millionaire treats him to life's luxuries, getting him extremely drunk in the process. After a memorable night, the millionaire sobers up and throws the Tramp out, where he spies the flower girl being visited by a doctor. Desperate to make money for her, he takes a job a street sweeper and gets involved in a winner-takes-all boxing match. Yet everywhere he goes, the drunk millionaire is there ready to whisk him off on another wild night.

The juxtaposition of the two central stories in City Nights is relatively strange in terms of relevance to the narrative. The film is clearly a romantic one, which makes it peculiar when it repeatedly cuts to the Tramp's escapades with the millionaire. But Chaplin seems to have incorporated this for two reasons, and two aspects that Chaplin is remembered and adored for - comedy and social commentary. This is Chaplin's most laugh-out-loud film, with the standout being the scene in which the Tramp and millionaire, both highly intoxicated, arrive at a formal party. The Tramp walks across the dance floor, slipping in unfamiliar shoes, trying desperately to stay on his feet. It's a five- second gag, but for me it incorporated all of Chaplin's breathtaking physical ability and subtle energy. Every moment seems like an endless maze of possibilities for Chaplin, squeezing instants of virtuoso out of simple things like lighting a cigar or eating spaghetti.

The Great Depression had recently struck the country, and Chaplin uses City Lights as a gloomy insight to the lives of the people hit by poverty. The blind flower girl seems to have nothing, yet is rich in soul and spirit that the Tramp is uncontrollably drawn to. The millionaire is emotionally vacated - miserable, angry and intolerable when sober, yet boisterous and care-free when drunk. By contrasting the poor girl with the empty millionaire in his lonely mansion, Chaplin is championing the human spirit over material wealth, a beautiful sentiment brought to life by some fine scenes of comedy, and a profound statement given the harsh, demoralising times. This no doubt was one of the key factors that led to the film's surprising commercial success, with a hungry and unemployed audience given a sense of hope through Chaplin's magic.

It is the most satisfying cinematic experience I've ever had - frequently hilarious, awe-inspiring and exquisitely moving. Although Chaplin would carry on making movies and make another masterpiece in Modern Times (1936), this is the last great 'true' Chaplin, his farewell to the era that served him so well. The final scene is the work of a true craftsman, a moment of sheer beauty. Without ruining anything for those who haven't seen it, the close-up of the Tramp's face overcome with emotion is one of the finest displays of acting I've ever come across, and it is easy to see why this scene is now so widely celebrated. A simply magical experience.

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2013-02-13
A great movie, as powerful now as ever
I've always loved Chaplin- "Modern Times" has long been one of my favorite films, and I enjoyed "The Circus," "The Gold Rush," "The Great Dictator," and "Monsieur Verdoux." I can easily see how many people consider "City Lights" his masterpiece. It's hard to even speak rationally about this movie. It's very layered, but also very simple, and that's what I think defines a great film.

The plot is easy to describe: the Little Tramp befriends a blind flower girl who mistakes him for a millionaire. Then he saves a drunken millionaire from suicide and uses his money and car to make the flower girl think he's rich. However, the millionaire sobers up and forgets the Tramp; the flower girl desperately needs money to pay the rent; ultimately, after a series of comical attempts to earn money, the Tramp receives $1000 from the millionaire, which (after being mistakenly branded a thief) he gives to the flower girl, before being sent to prison. He gets out months later, the flower girl has had an operation to restore her sight, and as he stumbles about outside her new flower shop she gives him a flower, recognizes him, and the film ends.

No complex subplots, no dialogue. Just a pure and simple story about a Tramp and his love. Chaplin possesses perhaps the greatest gift for changing the audience emotionally: the movie is never blunt or outrageous; I laughed out loud several times, but it wasn't explosive laughter. And I also very nearly cried at several points. When the Tramp finds he's falling in love with the flower girl he's trying to help- that made me cry. It's so touching, how the Tramp's weaknesses are his strengths. If Chaplin is a communist, then I'm a fellow traveler. The Tramp has nothing to give but his heart and his life. He goes through hell and comes out smiling. Sure, filmmakers today could learn a lot from "City Lights," but so could people today: if you are human, you can learn from this movie.

The movie is called a "romance comedy," and that's what it is. The Tramp voluntarily undergoes several ordeals for the flower girl, but he's also subjected to a number of funny situations: the nightclub party that showcases the Roaring '20s (how he drunkenly struggles to find a girl to dance with), the millionaire's attempt to get back home ("Am I driving?"), and of course the classic boxing match. The Tramp is the ultimate underdog: he can never win, but there is beauty is his failure. He finds happiness in life without going along with society's standards. And he gives us happiness, too, and a little inspiration.

Then, of course, there is the ending. I love Chaplin's endings. The last title card in "Modern Times" ("We'll get along") and the final shot of "The Circus" (makes me choke a little just to think about it) are both great examples. This ending is overflowing with tenderness. The flower girl loves her mysterious savior, and has said before that money isn't her greatest concern. But then the Tramp shows up: filthy, pathetic, and right out of jail. She laughs at him and teases him a little good-naturedly. He's a little reluctant to come to her- he stands back a little. Then she takes his hand and suddenly realizes the truth. She confirms it by feeling his arm and then says, "You?" and he asks if she can see now and she says, "Yes, I can see now." Their expressions convey just enough for the viewer to understand completely, without being entirely able to say what they understand. You can read the thoughts in her head, and then the camera turns to the Tramp, and his face is a heart-broken, heart-fixed, strange, sad smile. The screen goes black, it says THE END, and the music continues with a flourish, ending on a bittersweet note. I think the ending lets us know that these are real human beings in front of us, not just actors. They have real lives, and those lives can be changed, for better or for worse. It's absolute pathos. You can't be entirely the same after watching "City Lights."
2007-07-21
When the final scene is shown
City Lights (1931) is not only Charles Chaplin's great achievement but it also happens to be one of my top ten favorite films of all time. The emotion and effort that Chaplin put into this film cannot be recreated or matched by anyone. A classic tale about the Little Tramp giving up his livelihood for the benefit of others. Filmed during the height of the Great Depression the situation of life in America has never been caught like this before.

The Tramp is hoboing around town doing whatever odd jobs he can find. One day during one of his outings he meets an attractive woman who has an eye sight problem. Smitten, the Tramp vows that she'll see once again. So, he does whatever he has to do to get this young woman to see. He befriends a wealthy drunkard after he saves his life. The problem is that he only recognizes him when he's sloshed out of his gourd. What really moves this film is the great lengths that the Tramp will put his body through for love.

When the final scene is shown, you'll understand why many people (including myself) have called this one of the greatest films ever made. Pure magic.
2017-05-27
The Zen-Like Little Tramp
Waddling along with his cane and derby hat, and that tiny mustache, the little tramp (Charles Chaplin) is visually unlike any character in film history. The tramp is kind-hearted, always dignified. He's a simple soul who in "City Lights" tries to help out a young blind woman (well played by Virginia Cherrill). This is a silent film, of course, but the tramp's body language is his speech.

The really noticeable feature of the tramp character is how he blends into everyday life. He's more or less ignored by many, laughed at by others. The girl's grandmother never "sees" him at all. And only when the millionaire is drunk does he "see" the tramp as a friend. Curious ... and deep.

The tramp gets into his fair share of trouble, but only through his bumbling efforts to help the girl. The boxing match is a hoot, and very well choreographed, as are all the skits. And what a beginning for a film, with city leaders spouting gibberish, probably as Chaplin's dig at the "talkies". Then the way Chaplin makes his grand entrance ... just terrific!

Melancholy at times, the film's music really tugs at your heartstrings. Maybe it's sentimental and manipulative. But given the abiding and Zen-like qualities of the tramp, some sentimentality is quite appropriate. And the music is choreographed totally in sync with the plot action.

Production design is sparse and at times drab. That the film was made during the Great Depression is beyond obvious.

Comedy here is simple and effective. The main character expresses heart and humanity. The little tramp is an unforgettable character. And "City Lights" is a wonderful film.
2009-05-10
Chaplin's real masterpiece
Chaplin produced gem after gem, but this is the one that I rate the highest. We have both the famous comedy and the pathos. Unlike so many other comedians, there is a genius in plotting as well as in the action. Chaplin's Tramp defied the world by remaining silent to give us his most perfect film.
1999-02-14
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