City Lights Review

Number 26 on the 1000 greatest films of all time is Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 ‘City Lights.’ It is my first silent film and also my first Charlie Chaplin film.

In this film, Charlie Chaplin plays his most famous character: the Tramp.  The Tramp falls in love with an unnamed blind flower-seller an also befriends a local millionaire.  After the Tramp finds out that his would-be lover will be evicted from her apartment after failure to pay rent, he works to raise the money for her, as well as for treatment to cure her blindness.

As this was my first silent film, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised here.  Despite the lack of dialogue, the film was very clear and easy to follow.  It had a very simple narrative and it was easy to distinguish between which character was which and what their motivations were.  The film was also quite funny too.  Due to it not having dialogue, the humour all came from physical comedy.  Some of the funnier moments came from the Tramp being caught sleeping on a newly-veiled monument and making a fool of himself, when trying to get off it and also when the Tramp and his millionaire friend go to a fancy dinner and cause absolute mayhem. 

The ending was also very sweet.  The Tramp not only raise his would be lover’s rent money, but also enough money for her to receive the cure for her blindness.  The film ends on on her realising who exactly the Tramp is and what’s he done for her.  It was very touching to see the girl recognise and see the Tramp for the first time.  The musical score was also great and matched up with the film well.

 I felt that at times, the comedy element was overdone.  For example, when the Tramp stops his millionaire friend from drowning himself, there is a sequence where the pair inadvertently and repeatedly fall into the water.  The film also didn’t keep my entire interest.  Perhaps it was the lack of dialogue, but at some points, I felt quite unengaged from the film.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s