Released 1931 (USA)
American, in English (the film is silent but the scene cards are in English)
Director - Charlie Chaplin
Stars - Charlie Chaplin, Harry Myers, Virginia Cherrill
When a tramp (Chaplin) befriends a suicidal millionaire (Myers) by saving his life, wacky hijinks ensue. Cherrill co-stars as a blind street flower vendor, with whom the tramp becomes enamored.
Minor violence; mild sexual humor.
The humor is of a more juvenile nature. A lot of scenes reminded me of those old Warner Brothers cartoons. I suppose they must have copied Chaplin’s style, which isn’t his fault, but because of that I knew where every joke was going to go before it went there.
It’s very high on the “1930s movie sentimentality” scale.
I found the ending unsatisfactory. I thought there were two clear directions it could have gone, either of which would have made sense, but it aimed to hit somewhere between those two directions and it didn’t really work for me.
I liked the soundtrack.
As always, Chaplin’s physical comedy, especially his facial expressions, carries the movie.
I enjoyed the whole boxing scene.
Unfortunately, with the way Chaplin’s movies fall on the list, and what movies are in between them (i.e. movies I’ve already reviewed), that means I’m ending up having to watch several of his movies in a row. This movie definitely suffers from the fact that I saw Modern Times recently. To me, “Modern Times” is a much smarter film than this one. It’s a scathing social commentary, whereas “City Lights” is a romantic comedy. I’m not totally sure why it’s on the list at all, let alone placed above “Modern Times.” That being said, it’s not a bad film. It’s entertaining, there’s some really funny stuff, and if I weren’t so inundated with Chaplin, I might have enjoyed it more.
I give the film 3.5 stars.