City Lights

Production year: 1931

Comedy G   Running time: 1:27

IMDB rating:   8.6     Aspect: 4:3;  Languages: English;  Subtitles: None;  Audio: Stereo, Mono

City Lights is a film to pick for the time capsule, a film that best represents the many aspects of director-writer-star Charlie Chaplin at the peak of his powers: Chaplin the actor, the sentimentalist, the knockabout clown, the ballet dancer, the athlete, the lover, the tragedian, the fool. It's all contained in Chaplin's simple story of a tramp who falls in love with a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill). Chaplin elevates the Victorian contrivances of the plot to something glorious with his inventive use of pantomime and his sure grasp of how the Tramp relates to the audience. In 1931, it was a gamble for Chaplin to stick with silence after talking pictures had killed off the art form that had made him famous, but audiences flocked to City Lights anyway. (Chaplin would not make his first full talking picture until 1940's The Great Dictator.) After all the superb comic sequences, the film culminates with one of the most moving scenes in the history of cinema, a luminous and heartbreaking fade-out that lifts the picture onto another plane. (Woody Allen paid homage to the scene at the end of Manhattan.) This is why the term "Chaplinesque" became a part of the language.



Audio commentary

Special features

Digital Recording Of Original Score
Interview With Musical Director Carl Davis
Original Story Notes
Production Data
Publicity Items
Audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
Chaplin Today: ""City Lights"", a 2003 documentary on the film, featuring Aardman Animations cofounder Peter Lord
Chaplin Studios: Creative Freedom by Design, a new interview program featuring visual effects expert Craig Barron
Archival footage from the production of City Lights
Excerpt from Chaplin's short film The Champion (1915)
An essay by critic Gary Giddins
1966 interview with Chaplin
City Lights