In a year that could produce talking pictures Charlie Chaplin took a chance
with 'City Lights', making it an almost silent movie without dialogue. The
first great moment in the movie deals with Chaplin's decision in a very
funny way; some public speakers are talking but on the soundtrack we here
some strange mumbling. From here on it is one magical moment after
Chaplin plays his famous little tramp, who falls in love with a blind girl
(Virginia Cherrill). She lives with her grand mother (Florence Lee) and
tries to make a living by selling flowers. The blind girl thinks the tramp
is a very wealthy man. The ironic thing is that the tramp saved a drunk
millionaire (Harry Myers) who wanted to commit suicide. This millionaire is
Chaplin's friend when he is drunk, more than once in the movie, and that
makes the tramp like a millionaire as well. That is how the tramp can bring
the blind girl home in a Rolls Royce for example. The problem is that the
millionaire has no clue who the tramp is when is sobered up. The butler, who
does know who the tramp is, is very willing to throw the tramp out again.
The tramp finds a way to help the blind girl with her sight, but when she
can see again the millionaire is out of the tramp's life and she has no idea
who he is.
This magical romantic story in pantomime is wonderful in every aspect.
Chaplin of course is great and his leading lady Cherrill is beautiful. 'City
Lights' is basically a terrific story with great and famous scenes the
entire movie. There are so many great moments that it is hard to choose one
of them, but Chaplin's smile near the end is priceless. Definitely one of
Chaplin's best, at least the best one with his most famous