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Chaplin's "City Lights"


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#1 of 8 Erin C

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Posted July 12 2004 - 06:28 PM

I have never seen a Chaplin film but I hear this one is one of his best mostly because of the ending which I hear is "devastating". Can anyone please give me an extra push to go out and rent this gem? Any comments?? -spoiler free of course!

#2 of 8 Ocean Phoenix

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Posted July 12 2004 - 06:45 PM

I was disappointed by it. I heard that it was Chaplin's best movie and expected more. It's half comedy, half romance, and I liked the romantic parts better, but I think that's mostly because I have a bias towards simple romantic storylines. Chaplin's comedy didn't appeal to me much in this movie. I enjoyed it in "Modern Times", but his physical gags like tripping over things and pouring water down his pants just seemed lame and outdated to me.

At the same time, I also think there is some wonderful stuff in the movie. What impressed me the most was the music, which Chaplin wrote himself. A friend tells me that it's fun to watch silent movies while playing a CD of your choice, but "City Lights" is a movie in which I think the music should be heard, rather than replaced with one's own.

The scenes between Chaplin and the female lead are very charming. I love his and her facial expressions and the way that they interact. Their words are few, but when they do communicate, it is cute.

There's also a splendidly choreographed "fight scene", which had some of the few comedic parts that I was really amused by. So although the comedy's a little outdated and too silly for me, I still think the movie has a lot of qualities that make it worth seeing. The ending is indeed emotionally stimulating and a strong way to conclude the movie.

#3 of 8 Edwin Pereyra

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Posted July 13 2004 - 12:51 AM

Charlie Chaplin: His Silent Films Spoke Louder Than Words

A look at The Gold Rush (1925), City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936). Nos. 74, 76 and 81, respectively, on the AFI list.

Charlie Chaplin made the Little Tramp character famous - an outcast, homeless man with his baggy pants, tight coat, cane, large shoes and small hat.

In Modern Times, the Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman. The film is hardly silent. For the first time, the audience hears Chaplin’s voice in a rendition of a silly song. I found the production line scene in which he frantically tries to keep up by tightening bolts to be one of the funniest scenes in this movie. That and his jerking movements as an aftereffect from the dehumanization of man are among its many funny scenes.

In City Lights, the Tramp comes to the aid of a wealthy man, a blind girl and subsequently falls in love with her. Here, I was more interested in the storyline between the Tramp and the blind girl and not so much in his slapstick routines. The film contains one of the most heart-wrenching scenes ever shown onscreen. If City Lights’ final scene doesn’t get you emotionally worked up, then you had better get your tear ducts checked. Posted Image

The Gold Rush is Charlie Chaplin’s classic masterpiece about the hardships of life on the Alaskan frontier. It was the film he most wanted to be remembered by. The Gold Rush is certainly the most dated as far as film elements are concerned.

**********

In these films, Charlie Chaplin had served in one capacity or another and sometimes more than one, as actor, director, producer, writer and even composer – a monumental task that clearly speaks of the man’s pure brilliance. Chaplin’s silent films certainly deserves their spots on the AFI list.

There is a certain magic to these films that will never be lost with time. While they may be simple in terms of storylines and while they may be “silent”, the messages they tell speak louder than words can ever convey. One just has to pay close attention and sometimes, look at beyond the art of pantomime to appreciate these films. The facial expressions, hand gestures and other forms of body language – they all speak a thousand words. It is for these reasons why these Chaplin films will remain timeless.

Modern Times Posted Image (out of four); City Lights Posted Image; The Gold Rush Posted Image.

~Edwin
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#4 of 8 Seth--L

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Posted July 13 2004 - 01:17 AM

If you're looking for the best, in my opinion it's Modern Times. The idea of the Tramp in a talkie (where only machines have a voice) edges out the competition.
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#5 of 8 Lew Crippen

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Posted July 13 2004 - 03:58 AM

I consider City Lights a work of genius: it is both full of tenderness and slapstick, caring and rejection. It is (as most Chaplin films are) extraordinarily complex and I’d recommend watching it several times (this is not work, as it is so much fun) to plumb its depths.
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#6 of 8 Edwin Pereyra

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Posted July 13 2004 - 05:00 AM

I agree Lew. And it is in that regard that I would consider a few of Chaplin's work as national treasures. Posted Image

~Edwin
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#7 of 8 Joe Karlosi

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Posted July 13 2004 - 02:48 PM

I just saw CITY LIGHTS recently for the first time and LOVED it. I'd never seen a Chaplin film before, and this was recommended. It didn't disappoint.

#8 of 8 Darren Crouse

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Posted July 13 2004 - 04:59 PM

I'm a big fan of Chaplin, so of course, this is all biased. City Lights is a wonderful film, full of humanity and humility something missing in our ironic wrought narratives of today. Some people find Chaplin's work to be too sentimental, I for one find it refreshing. I don't think you would be wasting your time watching this film at all. For a real tear-jerker, watch The Kid. Coogan's performance is quite powerful for such a young child.

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Darren Crouse.
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