City Lights Reviews
Chaplin is a master entertainer. As the lead actor and director of "City Lights", everything, down to the slapstick comedy, or the quiet and delicate dramatic moments, "City Lights" is a blast. In an era where Slapstick comedy has worn out, "City Lights" revives it despite being one of the first of the genre. In an era where drama is delivered with heart-tugging dialogue that is bolstered with convincing emotional expressions, "City Lights" delivers simply through great acting capability. Yes, it takes a lot of coals to get "City Lights" running from the opening chapter, but at the end of the day, the "city lights" light up brightly and doesn't cease until the end. This film is an immaculate, timeless, silent movie masterpiece that is surprisingly engaging throughout.
First off, the film is uproariously funny. Even by modern day standards in which slapstick comedies aren't vogue, Chaplin manages to sell the most inane gags. This is aided obviously by the unrivaled power of his facial expressions. Sure they are comical and over the top, but they are expertly nuanced and give his "tramp" character much depth.
City Lights also encompasses not only timeless messages of love and fraternity, but also one of class distinction that would have been very palpable to American crowds mired in the consequences of the Great Depression. In fact, the film starts off with one of the more moving images I have seen in American cinema in which during an unveiling of a statue celebrating America's peace and prosperity, a crowd is stunned to find a homeless man, our tramp, sleeping on the monument. Chaplin not only pulled off a grand introduction for his protagonist, but also managed to sum up about one hundred years of American history in one scene. Simply stunning.
With the advent of talking pictures during this time, City Lights also utilizes sound in a creative way. From the indiscriminate mumbling of politicians to the tramp's involuntary whistling, Chaplin managed to satisfy those accustomed to traditional silent pictures and those searching for something a little more exciting in their entertainment.
Films of this caliber are rare and deserve every ounce of praise that they receive. Because whether you first witnessed this film during it's opening weekend or whether you stumbled upon it while scouring YouTube, I can almost guarantee that it put a smile on your face.
The story is an elemental fairy tale, a little tramp falls in love with a blind flower girl and becomes her guardian angel, and give up what little he has to save her and get her an operation. Somehow, when handled by Charlie, we buy in to this over the top melodrama, because of total commitment and honesty and superb execution, that holds back just enough to not wallow in bathos.
Watch for the balletic comedic set pieces, every deft move rehearsed by Chaplin and his supporting cast to perfection, yet all looking spontaneous. Watch for this film dealing honestly with human cruelty, (poverty, violence, class wars) but showing the goodness and kindness we all have latent in ourselves.
Most of all, watch for the most emotionally wrenching last scene ever shot, done simply with close ups of Chaplin and his costar Virgina Cherril as the Blind Girl. As one of the reviewer has already stated below, you'd have to be dead inside to not be moved. 2011's The Artist was a terrific acheivement at recreating silent film, but if you want to experience what silent film can truly acheive, take out City Lights. Interestingly, CIty Lights, like the story of The Artist, was made during the talkie era of 1931 and no one missed sound at all.
The plot is as follows: the Tramp meets and falls in love with a blind girl who sells flowers on the street. She is poor and by a mere coincidence, believes that The Tramp is rich. He also saves a drunken millionaire from suicide, and despite his gratefulness, doesn't remember the poor tramp unless he is drunk.
City Lights is no doubt a magnificent feat in motion picture history. It's poignant view of the world and society leaves you laughing and crying at the same time. Some believe this should really be called a drama instead of a comedy. I believe it is a strong mixture of both, and a great balance of the two. Both comedic and touching, City Lights should not be missed by anyone.
Eccentric Millionaire: Am I driving?
A big deal to produce, seeing as how Chaplin opted to make this film after the "talkies" had been introduced, however it seems to have been worthwhile, because this is a fun, funny, and sweet movie.
Chaplin's character, this time, is faced with a new challenge - love. While going through his usual antics on the streets of the big city, the Tramp falls in love with a blind girl who sells flowers. She believes him to be a wealthy man and the Tramp does all he can to help her, including his attempts to help pay her rent. With some help from his friend, a millionaire who only recognizes the Tramp when he is drunk, he may have good fortune in the end.
The film is of course staged to make the best of Chaplin's comedic abilities in the realm of physical comedy, and he of course excels. There are a number of standout sequences, which all make the film worthwhile.
But then, I'm still sick and I tend to have odd emotional reactions to things when I'm not at my best, so maybe that has something to do with my appreciation for it. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, though.