‘City Lights’ begins with an uproarious skewering of pomp and formality, ends with one of the most famous last shots in movie history and, from start to finish, so completely touches the heart and tickles the funny bone that in 1998 it was named one of the American Film Institute’s Top-100 American Films. Talkies were well entrenched when Charles Chaplin swam against the filmmaking tide with this forever classic that’s silent except for music and sound effects. The story, involving the Tramp’s attempts to get money for an operation that will restore sight to a blind flower girl, provides a star with an ideal framework for sentiment and laughs. The tramp is variously a street sweeper, a boxer, a rich 0poseur, and a rescuer of a suicidal millionaire. His message is unspoken, but universally understood: love is blind.
Chaplin Today: City Lights (documentary by Serge Bromberg)
Out-take (the stick in the grill sequence)
The Champion (1915) - boxing match scene
Behind the scenes, filming the flower girl sequence by Ralph Barton
Georgia Hale screen test
The Dream Prince (discarded idea)
Chaplin and the boxing stars
Winston Churchill visits the studio
Chaplin speaks for the first time on film (1931 footage)
Trip with Sydney to Bali (1932)
This disc includes the main feature
This disc includes the following episodes:
- Introduction by David Robinson
- Chaplin Today: City Lights (documentary by Serge Bromberg)
- Out-take (the Stick in the Grill Sequence)
- The Champion (1915) - Boxing Match Scene
- Behind the Scenes, Filming the Flower Girl Sequence by Ralph Barton
- Georgia Hale Screen Test
- The Dream Prince (discarded Idea)
- Chaplin and the Boxing Stars
- Winston Churchill Visits the Studio
- Chaplin Speaks for the First Time On Film (1931 Footage)
- Trip With Sydney to Bali (1932)
- Photo Gallery
- Film Posters
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, English DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1, Silent
Still a Charmer
- City Lights review by CP Customer
I saw a few Chaplin shorts accompanied by an orchestra outdoors at Canary Wharf last summer. What surprised me most was how many big laughs it got, and if you want to revisit his work, I'd say the best way to fully experience it is with an audience. At home, on DVD however, this still charms. A simple story with a lot of heart, you can see how the little tramp from Clapham managed to charm the whole world. And make them laugh.
I suffered from a bit of Chaplin fatigue after watching his first four films in quick succession. Refreshed after a bit of a break, I watched City Lights and was quite pleasantly surprised. I am still not (and probably never will be) completely sold on Chaplin but I did find this to be the funniest of his features so far and quite touching as well, notwithstanding the hokey blind-girl-miraculously-cured storyline.
The formula is familiar - the plot is just a line on which to hang various bits of slapstick, pantomime and, of course, romance but for the most part the sketches are funny. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times watching this, whereas the previous films elicited mostly smiles and the odd small chuckle. The repeated motif of the millionaire who loves The Tramp when intoxicated but fails to even recognise him when sober was a funny and nicely executed concept. Bits of slapstick by a canal, in a dance hall and at a boxing match were all well choreographed and amusing.
All in all an enjoyable watch, even for a Chaplin agnostic.
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