Other Sellers on Amazon
+ £1.37 UK delivery
Charlie Chaplin: City Lights [DVD]
|Additional DVD options||
|New from||Used from|
|Watch Instantly with||Rent||Buy|
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
One of Chaplin's most highly acclaimed films, City Lights is both a classic and a personal statement in which the master of pantomime proves the eloquence of silence. Combining wonderful comedy in the finest Chaplin tradition and evocative drama, the Little Tramp falls in love with a beautiful, blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill). She believes he is wealthy and he, in turn, sets out to raise the money for the operation that could restore her sight. Through countless mishaps, a cycle of mistaken identities, and a lot of luck, he finally succeeds and the operation is a success.
The final scene, in which the girl discovers the true identity of her benefactor, is a poignant encounter that has been lauded as one of the most memorable and moving moments in film comedy.
Made in 1931 shortly after the introduction of the talkies, Charlie Chaplin's City Lights is nonetheless near-silent. Chaplin was afraid that, should his universally known and beloved Tramp speak onscreen, he would be severely limited and compromised as a character. And so, City Lights is billed as "pantomime", a piece of cinema harking back to the manners and methods of an already defunct era.
Chaplin fell out of fashion towards the end of the 20th century as a new wave of comedians (Rowan Atkinson for one) castigated him for what they saw as his excessive, maudlin sentimentality. Certainly, City Lights--which sees Chaplin's Tramp befriended by a blind flower girl who mistakes him for a rich benefactor--is hokum indeed. Accepting this, however, what makes the film so marvellous is the deceptive skill and artistry of Chaplin the filmmaker, the immaculate timing and acrobatic grace of his seemingly slapstick comedy, in particular a justly famous boxing sequence. Chaplin's sparing use of sound is inventive also: the wordless waffle of public speakers in the opening scene and another in which the tramp swallows a whistle. Moreover, the conclusion, in which the dishevelled Tramp encounters again the flower girl, her eyesight restored is--sentimentality notwithstanding--one of the most moving and superbly executed scenes in cinema history, not least for its economy and restraint.
On the DVD: City Lights contains a generous package of extras on this two-disc set, including an introduction by David Robinson, in which he relates how poorly Chaplin and his leading lady Virginia Cherrill got on, an extended documentary/interview with Peter Lord (partner in animation to Nick Parks), who sings the praises of Chaplin's screen art, and a deleted scene, an immaculate piece of business involving a grate and a stick. There's a bonus in the form of an excerpt from 1915's The Champion, in which Chaplin prefigures the boxing scene from City Lights. Meanwhile, the "documents" section includes a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage, including a test screening for alternative actress Georgia Hale, rehearsal shots, chaotic scenes of Chaplin being mobbed in Vienna, a meeting with Winston Churchill and 1918 footage of Chaplin horsing around with famous boxers of the day including Benny Leonard. It also contains trailers, photo gallery and subtitles. On the first disc, the film's transfer to DVD is splendid. --David Stubbs
Customers who bought this item also bought
Top customer reviews
All through the film Chaplin gives us laughs and tears sometimes in the space of 2 seconds. And the legendary ending which has been copied by woody Allen is so brilliant that words could not do it justice. I am 18 years old and a huge chaplin fan and people who have not seen Chaplins work before should definitley see this one as their first chaplin experience. Chaplin once said that out of all his movies, he would like The Gold Rush for which he would be most remembered, however many would agree that City Lights is a huge contender for Gold Rush!
This edition has a superb looking print which looks equally crisp and clear on both the Blu-ray and DVD discs.
The extras are great compliments to the film itself also and make for a great set.
No self-assured, handsome, and above all rich hero here. The plot is entirely driven by the heroine's assumption that The Little Tramp is a wealthy man and owner of an expensive automobile, and much of the film is taken up by TLT's attempts to live up (or down) to this assumption. Trying to earn, beg or borrow the money to clear the heroine's back rent and buy her an operation to recover her sight brings him into many comic situations (including the hilarious and brilliantly choreographed boxing scene).
But TLT's love is an unselfish one, for the operation he intends to buy her will also expose the truth about himself and bring almost certain rejection and humiliation. Elsewhere in the film, wealth and the wealthy are given short shrift. Check out the alcoholic millionaire who is friendless and can only relate when he is drunk. How Chaplin resolves TLT's dichotomy in the final scene is as elegant as it is moving and satisfying.
This film is B&W and silent (something Chaplin insisted upon, even though he could have made a talkie) and is a perfect example of how narrative can be driven without dialogue.
City Lights won't change your life. But as a depiction of how love can transcend social and physical barriers, and how money can both create and destroy, it is unequalled.
I do feel better now and am going to look again at Virginia's eyes.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Personally I don't like it.
I find it hard to define why, I just don't get much enjoyment from it.Read more
Got to love The Little Tramp ! Played to perfection by Charlie Chaplin