Classic of the Week: City Lights (1931)


City Lights is a 1931 American pre-code silent romantic comedy film written, produced, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin. The film is about Charlie’s Tramp that falls in love with a poor blind girl (Virginia Cherrill) and forms a chaotic friendship with an alcoholic millionaire (Harry Myers).

This is probably one of the funniest, yet sweetest films I have ever seen and definitely my favorite silent one. Charlie, or should I say, Sir Charles Chaplin, is one of the most entertaining not just actors, but people in film history. His clever character that he created after being told his handsomeness wouldn’t make it in comedy, is a true icon, one that most everyone knows, or at least has seen. He is still today a true comedy icon along with Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.

This film has been one of my favorites for years now. I have tried watching silent films a long time ago and got instantly bored. Now I have a huge love and appreciation for them and I wish more of today’s people felt the same. This a gem of a film, a true masterpiece, bursting with originality, cleverness, humor and passion.

Charlie goes from funny to mischievous to endearing. Everything he does for the blind girl is so sweet, because it’s all done with love. He doesn’t mind having to face challenges or bump his head to please the girl of his dreams, which makes this film very heartwarming as well as hilarious. It’s full of not just preciousness, but also Charlie’s trademark slapstick humor.

This film soars above the idiotic and crude humor of today’s films. It is one that both children and adults alike will enjoy, although the Millionaire’s drinking problem and Charlie nearly being shot in one scene would have to be explained to small kids. Other than that, this is still a family film. It has quirky humor and a boxing scene  that work well the usual silent film type music. It has only a few words on the screen in certain parts, but has zero dialogue and doesn’t need any to tell the story.

This film is as lovely as it is funny. This is the first movie that I actually cried watching. Charlie plays his sweetest character and does it with charm, cleverness and hilarity. Never do I ever get tired of this film and yes, I still tear up every time. Outstanding, outstanding, outstanding! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Enough with adult humor and sexual innuendos, we need movies like this today. Charlie Chaplin will always be a true star and inspiration, even Scorsese can’t argue with that. 7+ 5/5


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