1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The masterpeice.
Right up to the 70's this was considered the best movie of all time. I'd heard of this movie but was never able to see it for ages.
One day it came on the French channel and as I love silent movies I recorded it in French (subtitles). ( it's one way to learn the language.) Even though it was in French, it still shone, and to this day it is still the only version...
Published on Sept. 29 2008 by Rick M. Pilotte
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad. Unfunny. Then, Suddenly, It Gets Brilliant.
A strange film. The comedy is labored, the slapstick is tired, the characterizations are slight, every comic moment is drawn out beyond endurance, the pathos is layered on with a shovel. But then comes the most beautiful and heartbreaking five minutes in cinema. Stick with it until the very end. They make it worth the trip.
Published on Feb. 10 1999
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The masterpeice.,
One day it came on the French channel and as I love silent movies I recorded it in French (subtitles). ( it's one way to learn the language.) Even though it was in French, it still shone, and to this day it is still the only version I've seen. This is by far the best Chaplin, though some of his earlier works, had they been feature length films, might have come close. ( For example The "Pilgrim" is pretty good. Later works such as "Modern Times" and The Great Dictator are also top notch movies,. bur He never again matches this one, and his films after The Great Dictator(1940), are probably not even worth watching)
The scene when the sound of the siren and the tramp realizes he's in for trouble is a classic image. This is just a wonderful pic that just has to be seen. If you have a friend who's doesn't know how good a silent movie can be this is the one they have to see.
The scene at the end , no matter how many times I watch this masterpeice, never stops a tear from coming. This is a 7 star movie...none of this five star business. One chap, Jackie Coogan (The Kid: 1921) remembers this movies affect on the viewers when it was new. He said after the movie ended there was "not a dry eye in the house".
To give the uninitiated an understanding of just how fabulous this movie really is, understand it was released in 1931, a full two years after the silent era had supposedly ended, yet it was a number one box office smash for, if I'm not mistaken, 6 months!...and I think it played in theatres for two years!
If you've been subjected to some of Chaplin's earliest films where editing didn't exist as far as I'm concerned, you've been shown a bum steer. This one is the epitome of class.
One of the difficult things Chaplin tried to do was to somehow figure out how to accidently convince a blind flower girl he was rich. It took me a couple viewings to get it, and indeed it took Chaplin ages to figure it out himself, so this could be considered the one weak area. Clearly the coincedence of appearing rich and then finding a rich friend to facilitate and complete the illusioin for the blind girl is a bit contrived, but it was fun getting there just the same, and he had to get there somehow.
But these are the minutest flaws in a true cinema masterpeice, and it's well worth the price, and plays well time after time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Chaplin, and maybe best film ever Made.,
Chaplin plays the part of his world famous Tramp character. He meets this flower girl (Virginia Cherrill) who happens to be blind. She mistakes him for a rich "gentleman". The little Tramp immediately falls in love with her, and he throughout the film, tries to help her see again, by getting money to pay for this operation. The little Tramp saves this rich guy from committing suicide, and the man becomes his friend.....when hes drunk. When the man is sober, he does not want to see the tramp. When hes not, he is kind, giving him money, letting him borrow the car, etc. The Tramp goes through a number of jobs, to get the money for the blind girl, including amongst a few, a prizefighting boxer. He gets into a lot of different bits of trouble, but he gets th money to pay for the operation. He ends up late rin prison. When he is free, he sees the girl, and she can now see, and his true identity is revealed. The end part, is the greatest scene in movie history. There is nothing possibly better than it, except it would be teamed with the "Cheek to Cheek" scene in the Fred and Ginger movie "Top Hat", of course. Those are the two most wonderful scenes ever filmed.
The film was released in 1931. the "talkies" had been around a few years now, but Chaplin managed to stay silent. He composed the muisic for this film, and added a few sound effects. The film is though, really a silent, or as it says at the beginning of the movie: "A Comedy Romance in Pantomime". This is the perfect movie, and the cinematography is the best. But yes, this film even beats Chaplin's other masterpieces in my opinion, such as "The Kid" and "The Gold Rush", and the much underrated among Chaplin fans, although one of my personal favourites, "A Woman of Paris". "City Light's" is an essential movie to see. Although I enjoy Chaplin's talking pictures, they do not come close to his silents. As for people who prefer Keaton, well, he was brilliant too, but Chaplin was so much more.
This DVD Edition, is presented on 2-Discs. This DVD, along with the others in the Chaplin Collection box set, is by far one of the best ever produced. This comes with an endless amount of extras, including featurettes, a brief 10 minute look at a scene from "The Champion". The fight scene, that is. The DVD has a screen test with Georgia Hale, its full of great little things. Extras are what make a DVD great. Other than that, the restored print looks absolutely amazing. This is a must, must have for a DVD collection.
4.0 out of 5 stars City Lights (1931),
4.0 out of 5 stars Knockout Funny,
Much of City Lights will seem maudlin and melodramatic to a modern audience but its important place in movie history and yes, that boxing scene, make it a must for any movie fan.
4.0 out of 5 stars Imperfect Print Tarnishes Tramp's Masterpiece,
In the early '90's I bought the CBS/Fox laserdisc of CL, which was transferred from a nearly flawless print (from "Chaplin's personal archives", as stated in the notes, and probably from the same negative as the one that was re-released to theaters for Chaplin's centennial in 1989). This LD version is so clean, sharp and vivid it looks as though it could have been filmed last week. In the boxing scene, for example, you can actually pick out a number of mannequins that were used among the live actors in the audience, and you can clearly see the wire that carries Charlie across the ring when he leaps at his opponent. On the DVD, however, not only can you not see the wire, the audience seems little more than a dark, murky mass rather than individual figures. Granted, maybe our disbelief is more happily suspended if we don't see what's suspending Charlie, but we certainly don't deserve murky masses where they aren't supposed to be.
Beyond using a superior print, CBS/Fox also went to the trouble of window boxing the transfer for their laserdisc release. That is, in order to preserve the nearly square aspect ratio of the original film, black bars were placed on the left and right sides of the screen to compensate for showing the top and bottom of the picture - the vertical counterpart of letterboxing. The DVD isn't window boxed, and while it may not seem like that big of a deal, it does affect the film - not only aesthetically, but effectually, as in the scene where Charlie is admiring the nude sculpture in the shop window. Key to the scene is the sidewalk elevator, which provides the gag - but it barely clears the bottom of the TV screen in the DVD version (in fact, it may bleed out of frame on some monitors). It's well within the frame on the window boxed version, as it should be. Also, with the top and bottom of the picture chopped off, the compositions as they appear on the DVD look cramped and less atmospheric than in the full image of the laser release.
The liner notes on the DVD boast of an "All new digital transfer from Chaplin family vault picture and sound elements" - which sounds great, but why wasn't the best print extant used, as it was on the now long out-of-print laserdisc? This film is a bona fide masterpiece, and it should be shown in its absolute best possible form. Instead we've been given what amounts to a professionally printed copy of a poorly lit Polaroid of the Mona Lisa.
5.0 out of 5 stars the most poignant ending in screen history,
both are works which startled us with the power that human expression can take in the form of art.
one is visual, one is music.
chaplin was nearly the sole survivor of the silent cinema
(if chaney had lived he too would have triumphantly made the transititon).
chaplin survived because he realized that silent film was an altogether different art form than sound film.
silent film is the quintessential example of expressionism in film because silent film was and remains visual storytelling.
the ending of city lights still brings a lump to your throat, regardless of how many times you have seen it.
only dreyer's passion of joan of arc posseses a comparable power.
those last few moments in lights when the once blind flower girl realizes that her benefactor is actually a tramp evoke a plethora of emotions and senses.
this, along with chaplin's the kid and easy street, remains his most timeless work.
5.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of everything.,
This review is from: Charlie Chaplin: City Lights (VHS Tape)As the Amazon review stated, this film has quite a bit of variety, showing Chaplin at all of the things that he does best. The movie isn't just plain comedy like some of his other movies (not that there's anything bad about that!), but also has a moving story. Both of these elements are intertwined very well, even though sometimes a joke goes on a little too long (this only happens once or twice, far less than in The Great Dictator).
As a whole, however, the film is VERY balanced and well-directed. Chaplin was right to release this as a silent film; this film is so good that I think audiences would flock to see it even if it had been released today!
If you haven't seen City Lights yet, you really owe it to yourself to do so.
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional masterpiece, both comedic and touching.,
Though the setup may be considered overtly sentimental -- the Tramp's budding relationship with a blind flower girl -- the film's treatment of the relationship is heartfelt but never corny. Smart character details and interactions are the key: The scene where she mistakes a stray thread from his vest for a ball of twine, for example, or the beautifully orchestrated chain of events which leads to the incomparable ending, the greatest in the Chaplin canon. He never forgets the laughs as he takes you along, and it pays off handsomely in City Lights.
There are plenty of great gags in this film, my hands-down favourite being the centerpiece boxing match, an outrageous piece of slapstick with a great rhythm. Watch this after Raging Bull, for good measure. The botched suicide attempt by the drunk millionaire is also priceless.
Like the other releases in this series, the City Lights DVD is filled with extras, the best being an extended scene, edited out of the film, that features the Tramp locked in a battle of the wills against a wood shim lodged in a metal grille! The sequence features a hilarious turn by an actor playing a clothing-store employee exasperated by the Tramp's efforts. There's also remarkable screen-test footage of Georgia Hale, the luminous actress who had been in The Gold Rush, shot because Chaplin had been unsure of City Lights star Virginia Cherrill's abilities. Longtime fans of the film like myself probably can't see the point -- Cherrill's sweet face, expressive and disarming physical actions, and convincingly vacant eyes (according to the Chaplin biography, she was seriously nearsighted, a trait which had won her the role) were perfect for the role. Still, the shock to me was to see that Hale, when out of film makeup, looked very contemporary. It's amazing to see a Chaplin actress out of character like that.
A classic film in a package with all the trimmings. While this series has made some gaffes (the sound work on The Gold Rush, for example, and the Chaplin Revue disc actually mislabels the two discs!), it's obviously the work of people who are trying very hard to do justice to these films, and for the most part, they're succeeding in a way I haven't seen outside of the prestigious Criterion Collection. Congratulations and respect are in order.
5.0 out of 5 stars A heart-warming silent comedy classic,
This is a heart-warming movie filled with all the wonderful comedy stunts that have become a trademark of Charlie Chaplin. His timing and choreography are perfect and make the humor more believable. Also, with the advent of the talkies, Chaplin still crafted a masterpiece of silent film making, with a touching story, great performances, and he even wrote the music.
A great film that can still make an audience both laugh and cry.
4.0 out of 5 stars THE GENIUS OF CHAPLIN IN A GOOD LOOKING TRANSFER,
TRANSFER: Warner/MK2 gives us a pretty smart looking transfer. While age related artifacts are present throughout, the image has been considerably cleaned up for this DVD and the restoration efforts are welcomed. The black and white picture exhibits a nicely balanced image with rich blacks, a nicely balanced gray scale and minimal film grain. There is some minor aliasing and edge enhancement throughout but neither distract. The audio has been remastered in 5.1 and is nicely spread across all five channels.
EXTRAS: a documentary by Serge Bromberg, the Georgia Hale screen test, outtakes, on-set footage, photo galleries, films posters and trailers.
BOTTOM LINE: Add this one to your collection today!
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City Lights by Charles Chaplin (DVD - 2000)
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