Sunday, April 18, 2010

City Lights (1931)


City Lights, a historical cinematic masterpiece. Released in 1931, is a comedy romance in pantomime. Written and directed by Charlie Chaplin, who stars as his beloved Tramp character.

A Poor, blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill) mistakes the Tramp for a millionaire when she hears the door slam on a rich man's automobile close by. The Tramp, being smitten with her, continues the charade.

Meanwhile a drunken millionaire (Harry Myers) is suicidal when his wife leaves. The Tramp happens to be at the right place at the right time, and saves the millionaire from jumping into the river. He assures the wealthy man that "Tomorrow the Birds Will Sing!". The millionaire declares that he's been cured, and that they are now friends for life, and thus treats the Tramp to the luxuries of a wealthy man's lifestyle. There is a catch, though. When the Eccentric Millionaire sobers up, there is no recollection of befriending this tramp.

An interesting little tidbit to know is that Virginia Cherrill was the first wife of Cary Grant!

Read more from Wikipedia, and IMDb

Charlie Chaplin


  1. I love this film! My favourite Chaplin film by far though is The Kid - such a perfect balance of humour and emotion. Chaplin is a true artistic genius.

  2. Jack, thank you for your comment! Yes, The Kid is such an excellent film!! As are all of Chaplin's works... always superb at mixing slapstick with such dramatic emotions. I remember in Chaplin's Autobiography, he spoke about being a child, and once a baby sheep escaped from it's way to the slaughterhouse near where he lived. Charlie and the other children chased the sheep around, had lots of fun, laughing and what not... but then the animal was taken back, and Charlie realized the sheep's fate. That incident, as Chaplin himself recognized, impacted what would be his future in filmmaking.

  3. That incident with the sheep has always haunted me too, ever since I read Chaplin's autobiography as a child.
    City Lights is such a perfect film... I also love The Kid, The Circus, A Dog's Life, Modern Times... well, all of them really. Even the talkies. Even Countess From Hong Kong.
    If I really, really had to pick one favourite I think it would be The Immigrant. What about you?

  4. Matthew, I've given this a lot of thought... first film that immediately jumps to mind is City Lights (Lol, and not just because this happens to be a post about it...!) but because I'm sentimentally attached to this film due to the impact it had on my life at one moment in time. I feel the same way about the Gold Rush though. It's so difficult for me to pick a favorite, as I really do love them all. If I could split them up into categories, this would be much easier! Like my favorite Chaplin short, I'd have to go with One A.M. ... Have to mention the Idle Class though, as it contains one of my all time favorite gags. I could go on and on like this all day, oy, so stopping myself now is probably a good choice.

  5. Yes - One AM is amazing; I'd forgotten that one. What a tour de force!