City Lights by Charlie Chaplin

CityLights by Charlie Chaplin

CityLights by Charlie Chaplin


CityLights is an American pre-code romantic film released in 1931. Thefilm is written by and directed by Mr. Charlie Chaplin who is alsothe starring character. Other starring characters include FlorenceLee, Allan Garcia, Harry Myers, Virginia Cherrill, among others. Thefilm features Little Tramp misadventure story. He fell in love with ablind girl and formed friendship with an eccentric millionaire. Asthe little Tramps wander across the city streets, he met a blindflower girl who thinks that he is a rich man. Later, Tramp meetsHarry Myers and saves him committing suicide. Harry wanted to drownhimself into the river. The two becomes friends, though theirfriendship would come into an end as soon as Harry would sober up andwould not recognise Tramp. The blind girl family is undergoingfinancial troubles. Tramps friendship with a millionaire allows himto become the girl’s benefactor.

Ilove the Chaplin’s cinematography. His camerawork portrays artisticquality, as well as his personal sense of humour. Besides, themovement of the images are choppy and rapid. The speed and theinterruption of images produce a psychological effect. All charactersin the “City Lights” are distinct but they contribute to the filmin a vibrant ways. Indeed, they greatly contribute to thecinematography. For instance, in the film, The Tramp is a characterwho people feels sorry for and laugh at him. However, the viewersview him as a hero and they have high hopes and great expectation inhim. This is because he has fortuitous ability to resolve problemsand escape harm. In addition, the blind girl is graceful and gentle.Although she lacks vision, she can express herself with handmovements and facial expressions to portray her role. On the otherhand, the millionaire portrays his two characters perfectly.Sometimes he is cold-shouldered and aggressive while at other time heis gregarious and generous.

Additionally,every character plays him or her part perfectly. Comparing othermovies such as The Gold Rush and Modern Times, the film portraysTramp at bravest, funniest, most sympathetic, and most romantic. Thefilm centres three main characters: the Tramp, the blind girl, andthe wealthy man. The Tramp is a funny homeless man who commonly istramped in predicaments. He saves a drunken millionaire from suicideand become his on and off friend. In addition, he takes himself moreseriously hence, the results are spectacular. He does a phenomenaljob in his role. His friendship with a drunken man is uproarious. Theblind girl is fond of Tramp though she lacks total perception towardshim. She brings out the most absorbing and key female performances inthe film. She brings an emotional centrepiece when she is determinedto obtain eye surgery money and rent.

Theediting of the film is fantastic and perfect. Chaplin does a basicand simple editing. The gray scale colour is incredible. Chaplinincorporates medium shots, long shots, and close ups shots. However,most shots are either medium or long shots. He uses close up shotswhen he intends to convey more meaning of the scene and itsintensity. Besides, the editing incorporate motivated cameramovements. Further, with no doubt, “City Light” is a masterpiece.Every scene is classic. Although the whole film takes eight oneminutes, they are the best eight-one minutes that one can spend atthe movies. When the films end, the whole thing is simply exquisite.Specifically, I enjoyed the scene whereby the blind girl give Tramp aflower and utters, “Yes, I can now see.” This scene takeseveryone into an emotional gravity. I also enjoyed the little Trampfancies and his well-mannered gentleman characteristics despites allsituation that brought him down.

Althoughthe film is good, it has some limitations. For instance, it is asilent film and it is shot in black and white. In the current world,not many people appreciate such movies. In a silent film, characterscannot express their feeling verbally hence, the viewers needs needto understand their feeling through actions. Commonly, charactersexpress themselves though body language, facial expressions, eyecontact, kinds of touch, dressing, or use of written statements. Thefilm is worth watching but lack of speech, lots facial expressions,and gestures limits emotional impact of films. Today, black and whitefilms are outdated hence, “City Lights” is an outdated film towatch.


Followingthe film “City Lights,” Chaplin is an excellent filmmaker andcomedian. He uses symbol to express his thoughts. For me, a prop thatstood out was the use of money. Money was not a great issue to Harry,a millionaire. He would party, go to dance club, and help Tramp withsome dollars. On the other hand, Chaplin would use money to show loveand charity. Likewise, the use of flowers is also a prop. The blindgirl and Chaplin used flowers to express their feelings and emotions.As a comedian, Chaplin openly shows his range of talent as a comicand tragic character. He has the ability to make his audience laughat his naughtiness, as well as empathise with his predicaments. Mostscenes in the film contain some humour.