Tuesday, April 14, 2009

City Lights (1931)

The Tramp falls for a blind flower girl. She mistakes him for a rich man. He continues the charade to gain her favor. He tries to earn money to help her out and pay for an operation to restore her sight. But if she has the operation, what then?

This is how silent films were made. No ridiculous over acting or paper-think plots here. Made years into the age of talkies, Charlie Chaplin made the conscious decision to keep the tramp silent.

Still, I have to say, it was a little tedious to watch. It ran about an hour and a half. The sight gags were cool, but I've seen them before. Mostly by people imitating the man, but still. Maybe if I get used to the genre I'll get into it more. We'll see.

I learned that Hitler modeled his mustache after the Tramp thinking it would endear him to his people, even though he mistakenly believed Chaplin to be Jewish. That was an interesting choice, looking back. A fiery, antisemitic dictator trying to channel a silent tramp he thought was Jewish. Go figure. Hey, and the blind girl (whom Chaplin disliked) married Cary Grant for about a year. I love IMDB!

Now, where did the title come from? Yes, it was set in a city, but lights of any kind didn't play any role in the story. AFI called it the number one romantic comedy. I say it was cute. Maybe worth another viewing. AMRU 3.5.

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