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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
DVD-rip 576x416 px 701 Mb h264 1184 Kbps avi Download
Reviews
A cinematic triumph ... a universal masterpiece ...
Charlie Chaplin was the greatest film-maker of all-time … and only two words are enough to measure up the greatness of his talent and its cultural significance in Cinema's history: "City Lights", a title that resonates in my heart as the most inspiring triumph of the human spirit. "City Lights" is not just a film; it's a cinematic gift from a genius, who sublimated the simplicity of the pantomime to create the greatest and most universal romantic comedy that ever enchanted the silver screen.

The universality and emotionality of the film have remained intact, and continue to provoke the laughs and the tears of movie lovers all over the world even after 80 years. It's an incredible achievement because it stood the test of time and transcended the geographical barriers when other classics are more appreciated in a sort of sentimental and magnanimous way, as if we're trying to repress the feeling that some elements have obviously dated. But Chaplin's film hasn't dated because it chose to be dated from the start, at the time of its release. It was a silent movie in the talking era, when all the fans were enthusiastic of hearing shouts, screams, cars, declarations of loves, bad-ass dialogs and all that new stuff, Chaplin, in an admirable confidence, did what he did the best, the pantomime, the only language that could fit for the most fascinating cinematic character: the Little Tramp.

And what could have been a timely weakness quickly became the film's ticket for immortality. 1931's audiences applauded the film as a celebration of humanism that could never be imitated again. And only a movie with no words could have touched the hearts of so many people in the world, precisely, during an era where laughs and cheers, trust and optimism were needed. It didn't take a political or a denunciative approach to inspire the hearts, only laughs, cheers and the depiction of the most beautiful and valuables virtues of humanity. No speeches needed, words were as meaningless as these hilarious squawks we heard at the beginning. This gibberish talk is Chaplin reminding us of the futility of words, and we trust him. Maybe, dialogs make you miss the essential in a film.

Antoine De Saint Exupéry, who wrote "The Little Prince", said: "One sees well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes." I guess for Chaplin, who shared the same humanism of the French writer and pilot, you could translate his view on dialogs by this paraphrase : "One sees well only with the eyes and the heart. The essential is inaudible to the ears" No need for words but in "City Lights", our ears are enchanted by the beautiful "flower girl" melody, and sadness and happiness that inhabit the film has never been so graciously embodied. And while we float in this atmosphere, the action that follows is the tribute of Chaplin's comic genius, his body language and facial expressions are so rich, so fragile I can imagine my inner child being amused by this film, while I'm moved as an adult, by the purity of the character who wants to help this blind girl who sells flowers. "The Little Tramp" is the quintessential clown without a make-up and a true hero, a word often overused, but not in this case.

The Tramp is a hero because of his altruistic nature. He's apolitical but indirectly highlights the social gaps in the modern cities, without letting the film fall into political denunciation. He saves a rich man who wants to commit a suicide and after having developed a fondness for him, the rich makes him discover the world, amusements, dance clubs, parties, all the decadence of the bourgeoisie where the Tramp obviously doesn't fit. But he stands, as a friend, and uses the friendship to help the blind girl who believes he's a rich man. It's the myth of the Charming Prince revisited by Chaplin, through a character driven by his heart. And despise this nobility of spirit, he's constantly bullied, hit, misunderstood. And this is where resides the sadness of the film, the struggle of the Tramp in this journey into the injustices of society. But he's a man, who gets hit but hits back, never remaining a victim, victims are helpless, the girl is helpless, if he becomes so, she has no salvation, the girl is his inspiration, and the only one who never harms him in the film.

And boy, how many hits did he get ... of course, I'm referring to the hilarious legendary boxing scene ... probably one of the greatest Chaplin's moments. It has the format of his short stories, but here it does have a particular meaning, since we know what drives him to do so, he wants to get the money to pay the rent for the blind girl, his challenge is our hope, and we hope he'll get it. And as the ultimate tragic hero, not only he'll help her, but he'll get enough money to cure her blindness, before going to jail, rejected by the same rich friend who gave him the money. Rich are so rich, they're perverted by money, and treat friends as they deal with valuable things, but things have no value, love, feeling and generosity have.

And the value of these things are illustrated in one of the greatest, if not the greatest concluding scene ever, where the blind girl, now cured, after giving the rose to the Tramp, understands that he is the "rich man", the Charming Prince who haunted her dreams. The Tramp is anxious, and timidly asks her if she can see now. The answer of the girl and the breathtaking concluding smile of the Tramp create the most beautiful and inspiring ending ever. Because she had just realized that she saw the essential, which ironically, was invisible to the eyes.
2011-04-02
Both Hilarious and Touching
One of my biggest movie-related regrets that I hadn't seen a single Charlie Chaplin film. The director and actor has received massive acclaim, and is still considered today to be one of the world's greatest directors. And yet, I had not seen any of his films. In fact, I had seen relatively few silent films at all. However, if Chaplin's other work is even nearly as good as City Lights, I will not hesitate to see his many other films.

Often considered one of Chaplin's best films, City Lights is the story of a young tramp (portrayed by Charlie Chaplin), who befriends a drunk millionaire. The tramp uses resources provided by the millionaire to give gifts to a young, blind girl, whom the tramp has fallen in love with. Things are a bit complicated, though, as when the millionaire is sober, he does not remember ever befriending the tramp.

Due to my limited exposure to films of this era, this review may seem a bit more pointed towards the art of silent film in general, as opposed to this specific film.

At times, City Lights plays like a big cartoon. Slap stick and quirky situations saturate this film, insuring that there is never a dull moment. This is not sophisticated comedy, and it does not take a sophisticated mind to enjoy. In fact, this is likely one of the reasons for City Light's success; it's accessibility.

Chaplin arranges a large number of very elaborate humorous sketches. A masterpiece in comic timing, City Lights is an absolute delight to watch. There are dozens of memorable scenes. If you're not smiling at any given point during the film, you're probably laughing.

Actually, I take back what I just said. For even though City Lights is a comedy, it's also a romance. Very touching, and even tear-jerking at times, City Lights proves that it's just as effective as pulling heart strings as it is at tickling funny bones.

The romance succeeds for a number of reasons. For one, we feel invested in the characters and their story. The film is only 82 minutes, which doesn't leave much time for the characters to be developed, and because City Lights is a silent film, only important lines are shown as subtitles. Everything else is silent. And yet, the characters are defined and layered, some more subtly than others.

The romance also works due to the excellent acting. Charlie Chaplin quite literally makes this movie. His both hilarious and touching performance as the tramp is sincere and humorous. Virginia Cherrill portraying the blind girl is another great performance, and Harry Myers effectively portrays the eccentric millionaire.

I also believe the romance actually benefits from not having dialogue. I say this dialogue is the number one thing that kills a good romance in a film. You could have the best actors and actresses in the world, but with bad dialogue, comes bad romance. By eliminating dialogue, City Lights also eliminates this common issue in modern film that's not just limited to romantic flicks.

The score (also composed by Charlie Chaplin, as well as Arthur Johnston) is delightful. Boasting a large number of catchy and clever tunes, the score is both diverse and entertaining. Music has a much more important role in silent films than in today's "talkies," but Chaplin and Johnston have no problem here.

Not all the sketches work as well as others, and the heavy slapstick may not meet everyone's tastes, but City Lights is a brilliant film that succeeds on both an emotional level, and a comedic one. Funnier and touching than most of today's films, City Lights isn't perfection, nor is it without flaw, but the sincerity and simplicity in which the story is presented is simply beautiful. I look forward to watching more of Chaplin's films in the near future.
2013-05-15
The tramp lights up the life of a blind woman
A true master of comedy of all eras.

The only comedy movie that takes you to the verge of shedding a tear or two, a situation further exacerbated by the euphonious background music, towards the end of the movie.

I am dumbfounded as to how he could think of such a script that forces people of all ages chortle. The scene before the boxing match and the entire boxing match sequence was the best part of the movie, i felt.

He falls in love with a blind flower vendor and vows to help her financially. He befriends a man who is about to commit suicide and their friendship lasts as long as the man remains inebriated. He arranges the amount for the woman's surgery and serves a term in the prison.

The tramp is out of the prison with tattered clothes and is ridiculed by children, snubbed by the one he loves the most and yet he stays there grinning at the woman until she realizes her benefactor.
2012-06-25
My first Charlie Chaplin film
This was my first Charlie Chaplin and first silent film. I wasn't sure what to expect and I was surprised that despite the lack of dialogue, it was easy to follow. The storyline wasn't particularly complicated or difficult to understand. The humour also worked well too. Charlie Chaplin is a great comedy performer and here his talents for physical comedy are showcased well.

That being said I did feel like the comedy was overdone at times. There were occasions where the same joke was repeated again and again and I got a little bored. I also didn't find the film entirely engaging. My interest did wander a little at times.

Read my full review here:http://goo.gl/V1YfzS
2016-04-19
Rarified
Orson Welles once cited as his favorite movie Charlie Chaplin's tribute to the art of body language and pantomime, "City Lights."

"I was determined to continue making silent films," Chaplin recalls in "My Life in Pictures" of his decision to make a silent four years into the talkie era, "for I believed there was room for all types of entertainment." "City Lights" features Chaplin's musical composition and various sound effects, but no dialogue. Chaplin opens the film with a lampoon of talkies: at the unveiling of a Greco-Roman stone statue, the dignitaries' speeches are heard only as unintelligible squawks.

Smitten by a flower-selling Blind Girl (Virginia Sherrill) who has mistaken him for a dapper gentleman, the Little Tramp takes on odd jobs (including a prizefight, shown in a masterfully choreographed sequence) to raise money for an operation to restore her vision. After the Tramp intervenes to prevent the suicide of an alcoholic tycoon, the tycoon befriends him; but it is an on and off friendship, as when sober the tycoon doesn't even recognize the Tramp. Despite a series of mishaps, the Tramp pays for the operation. But in the process he lands in prison. On the Tramp's elease, the Blind Girl learns the true identity of her benefactor in one of the most rarified scenes in cinema.

2002-07-28
Is it really that good?
The answer is yes, yes, and YES.

City Lights (1931) may be the sweetest film ever made. A gentle romantic-comedy with a great ending, this movie is unforgettable. Unlike a modern comedy or rom-com, there is not a trace of mean-spiritedness here.

I'm not sure if CL is Chaplin's funniest movie, but some of his most hilarious moments are all here. The comic highlight is the boxing match, which is great all in and of itself.

Though Chaplin had a hard time with Virginia Cherrill on set, she is perfect as the flower girl the Tramp seeks to help. He considered casting Georgia Hale in the part, but I don't think anyone could have exuded innocence and tenderness in the same caliber as Cherrill.

This is a fine movie, truly great.
2014-08-19
Unashamedly Sentimental---Works for Me
I had the pleasure of seeing a screening of this film (silent, though it came out well into the sound era) with live music accompaniment by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As you can imagine, this added a tremendous amount to the overall effect of the movie, which I had seen once before on video. This is Chaplin at his most unabashedly sentimental, but darn it if it doesn't work like a charm. This feels the most dramatic of the Chaplin films I've seen, with the most "plot," but that doesn't mean there aren't wildly funny bits, like Chaplin's brief stint as a boxer. I don't cry especially easily at movies, so the ending didn't have me in tears, but you're excused if it has that effect on you, and you might want to have a handkerchief handy just in case.

Grade: A
2005-12-21
Chaplin was a film genius
I join with many others here saying that this is one of the greatest films ever made, and in my all-time Top 5. It is a testament to the genius of Chaplin that he has made three "classics" - City Lights, The Gold Rush, and Modern Times - that people argue about to this day which is the greater film. I will say that Modern Times is the most accessible of these three to the current film-goer because it's the one which uses sound most extensively, and that The Gold Rush has more classic comedic bits, but for me it's always been City Lights, as this is the film that strikes the best balance of slapstick and pathos together, where you're laughing one moment, and then greatly moved in another.

I was fortunate that I first saw this movie in a film class in college. I am embarrassed to say that all I knew about Chaplin was his comedic shorts, so this was a great surprise to see City Lights. I was fortunate however, in that I had no idea what this film was about, and in what high esteem this film was held. The ending is moving and tugs at the heart. I don't know if it's the greatest ending I've ever seen in a movie (I might have to give that to Chinatown), but I love it and the movie.

I don't know if the PBS Special "Unknown Chaplin" is floating around anywhere on video or DVD, but it's a treasure chest of surprises for City Lights fans. In it, they unearth many of the film outtakes, particularly the number of shots it took to convincingly make the audience understand why the Blind Girl thought the Tramp was a wealthy man. There's also interviews with Virginia Cherrill and Georgia Hale, and how Chaplin didn't care for Cherrill very much, and wanted to replace her with Georgia Hale after almost the entire film had been shot. They even show the final scene with Georgia Hale when she gets her sight back, and wants to give a flower to the Tramp.
2005-12-10
"City Lights" says it all
The timeless charm that Charlie Chaplin personifies through this film is at its greatest in this, his most graceful work of art. The genuine wit and humor mastered over the years is of course pervasive, but it ultimately plays second fiddle to the delicate eloquence of one of the most powerful love stories to ever grace the silver screen. This is the masterpiece Chaplin had been working towards his entire career, and it is executed incomparably.

It is a peculiar thing to consider the title of the film, as the city and its lights don't seem to be an overtly prominent part of the picture. However, upon closer inspection, it truly is all about the city (society and its individuals) and its lights in a figurative sense, as lights in this film can very much refer to the beacons of hope that the individual characters serve as to each other. While the three main characters are just struggling to make it by in this world- to find purpose, to succeed- their own sense of worth in the eyes of society goes unmatched by the light they bring to those who need it.

The millionaire's split personality as a suicidal drunkard (a social outcast) serves as the enlightened version of his character because in this state he is honest and mindful of those around him regardless of their status. His sober self, then, although admirable by society's standards, goes to show just how "blind" people are to the reality of how we should treat each other.

The blind Flower Girl, of course, is incidentally only blind to the true nature of the Tramp when she can physically see. When she learns the truth, the "light" goes on for her ("Yes, I can see now"), and she can go back to seeing the true nature of an individual rather than their outward appearance.

Thirdly, the Tramp is simply a bum meandering through life, until he finds a purpose. Naturally, it takes the city's lowest of the low- The Tramp- to be enlightened enough to see past a handicap and realize the true beauty of the Flower Girl, who is overlooked by the rest of society. As he becomes enlightened to the vitality of living selflessly, the Tramp receives the beacon of hope in return, grasping his dreams for love and a better way of life.

Although very different individually, as these characters can see beyond society's little boxes they are each little pillars of light to illuminate the way for each other (something every city could use a lot more of). The Tramp and the Flower Girl, having their eyes opened and having found each other, display one of the most fulfilling of on-screen romances, for as once they were struggling through life individually, they have discovered more than they could ever hope and dream, together. City Lights is a love story of two outcasts, loners; until we find our light, aren't we all?
2017-10-31
Masterpiece
I watched this movie as part of a class project. I could have chosen any movie on the IMDb top 250. I chose this particular movie because I had never seen it. I was not expecting to like it or be able to get into it because it is a silent movie. I was completely wrong.

This movie is basically a love story between a tramp and a blind flower girl. There is also the millionaire that the tramp saves and becomes friends with, sometimes.

I believe that this movie would not have been as good with dialog as it is without. This is because Charlie Chaplin's acting and musical score were perfect. The music fits the action on screen perfectly and keeps you drawn in. Chaplin's character, a tramp, conveys his message through pantomime. The blind girl played by Virginia Cherrill was also done perfectly. The ending between these two characters is one of the best that I have ever seen.

Harry Myers plays an eccentric millionaire, This part is also played very well. This character is a kind of Jeckyll and Hyde. When he has been drinking, he is the tramp's best buddy, when he is sober he wants nothing to do with him.

The boxing scene is extremely funny. I won't give away any spoilers but the interaction between the two boxers and the referee is hilarious.

Overall this is a masterpiece. The romance, humor, and drama were all very convincing and like I said before, this was all done with no words. This movie was so good that I will watch Charlie Chaplin's other work.
2015-02-08
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