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| With: Charles Chaplin/Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Harry Myers |
| Written by: Charles Chaplin |
| Directed by: Charles Chaplin |
| MPAA Rating: G |
| Running Time: 87 |
| Date: 30/01/1931 |
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By Jeffrey M. Anderson In Chaplin's magnificent City Lights, Charlie plays a drifter who is befriended by a drunken millionaire, but when sober the millionaire doesn't remember who Charlie is. At the same time, Charlie falls in love with a blind flower girl and convinces her that he is the millionaire.
Chaplin started the film just before sound was first implemented in movies. Regardless, he chose to finish the movie silent and added various sound effects, such as when the Tramp swallows a whistle, he hiccups and whistles.
This is the movie with the amazing boxing scene, and the incredibly powerful and heartbreaking ending when the flower girl, sight newly regained, realizes who Charlie really is by touching his hands, then the look in his eyes when she silently rejects him. It's Chaplin at his most sublime, poetically mixing longing and heartbreak with big laughs.
Though City Lights didn't receive any Oscar nominations, it is said to have been a favorite film of Federico Fellini, Orson Welles, Andrei Tarkovsky, Robert Bresson, Bernardo Bertolucci, Joe Dante, and Jackie Chan, among others.
DVD Details: Extras on Warner Home Video's 2003 two-disc DVD set include an introduction by David Robinson, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage. Both it and Image Entertainment's 2000 DVD are out of print as of 2012. Perhaps a Criterion release is on the way...