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City Lights
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City Lights

4.6 10

Cast: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Harry Myers, Allan Garcia


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This comedy, both hilarious and poignant, is widely regarded as Charles Chaplin's masterpiece, and this DVD release treats the screen classic with the respect it deserves. City Lights has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The accompanying musical score appears in its original version in Dolby Digital Mono, as well as in


This comedy, both hilarious and poignant, is widely regarded as Charles Chaplin's masterpiece, and this DVD release treats the screen classic with the respect it deserves. City Lights has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The accompanying musical score appears in its original version in Dolby Digital Mono, as well as in remixed form for Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's title cards are in English, with optional subtitles in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai. A wealth of bonus material has been included for this release, including an introduction from Chaplin biographer David Robinson, a short documentary on the making and significance of the film, a screen test for actress Georgia Hale, outtakes and rehearsal footage, newsreels documenting visits to the set by Winston Churchill and several champion boxers, home movies of Chaplin's visit to Bali with his brother Sydney Chaplin, rare newsreel footage of an 1931 interview with Chaplin in Vienna, a clip from the film The Champion, and a gallery of still photos and promotional artwork.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Monica McIntyre
Graceful, poignant, and sidesplittingly funny, City Lights is one of Charlie Chaplin's most wondrous feature-length films. This 1931 black-and-white silent gem features the writer-director Chaplin as the endearing Tramp, who falls in love with an angelic blind flower seller (Virginia Cherrill). By forming an on-again, off-again friendship with a drunken millionaire, the Tramp gets enough money to pay for an operation to restore her sight. City Lights matches the delightful sight gags that Chaplin was famous for with a first-rate melodramatic narrative. As always with Chaplin, there is surprising delicacy and precision in every scene. The film's score, composed by Chaplin himself, deftly accompanies the lithe lyricism of his choreographed pantomime. In one of the funniest scenes, Kurt Weill-like expressionistic music leads up to a boxing match from which the Tramp hopes to pick up some money. A dainty flute solo takes over once the hapless pugilists hilariously try to duke it out. Indeed, the movie floats like a butterfly toward its enormous payoff, one of the most powerful finales in all of cinema.
All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
Many critics consider City Lights to be Charles Chaplin's finest film, no small accomplishment considering his long string of great films. The film is a Chaplin tour-de-force, as he has his hand in almost every aspect of its production. He co-wrote, produced, directed, scored and edited the film. Unwilling to bend to the winds of change, which saw the introduction of the spoken word in movies three years earlier, Chaplin's is a silent film. However, he does use music and sound effects cleverly throughout, even employing them pointedly to satirize "the talkies." Other familiar targets are the hypocrisy, prissiness, and arrogance of wealthy "polite society" and cruelty to society's less fortunate, lovable outcasts like The Little Tramp himself. Of course, Chaplin's physical comedy is riotously funny. He dances along the highwire between hilarity and disaster with aplomb. All the while, Chaplin's Little Tramp maintains his dignity and sense of fair play. City Lights's parallel plot lines unfold effectively, as the storyline involving The Little Tramp and the suicidal millionaire presages themes developed more fully in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. The pathos-ridden love story with the blind flower girl plays on universal themes, such as the intoxicating blindness of love and the rejuvenating power of selflessness. A graceful, athletic artist of pantomime, Chaplin's Little Tramp moves effortlessly between figures of destitution and wealth, aiding and abetting all around him. City Lights is a paean to our best impulses, a plea for humanitarianism and justice. Most important, it is the work of a master craftsman, in full control of his craft.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Closed Caption; All-new digital transfer from Chaplin family vault picture and audio elements; Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as original Mono; Interactive menus; Scene access; Subtitles: English, Français, Español, Português, Chinese, Thai & Korean; Introduction by David Robinson - Chaplin's biographer discusses the historical and cinematic context of the film; Chaplin Today: City Lights - documentary by Serge Bromberg with the participation of the animation artist and director Peter Lord; Outtake - Charlie tries to disengage a sliver of wood stuck in a sidewalk grating; The Champion (1915) excerpt - Charlie stages a balletic boxing match, 15 years before City Lights; Shooting - on the set of the famous scene in which Charlie and the flower girl first meet, filmed by Ralph Barton; Georgia Hale screen test - the screen test made by the actress of The Gold Rush when Chaplin thought of replacing Virginia Cherrill as the flower girl; The dream prince - a discarded idea for how the flower girl imagines her benefactor; Rehearsal - Chaplin works out the staging of a complicated scene; Chaplin and boxing stars - Chaplin playfully boxes with professional prizefighters visiting his studios; Winston Churchill's visit - Britain's future prime minister visits Chaplin during the shooting of City Lights; Chaplin speaks! - in 1931 Vienna during his triumphant European tour, Chaplin speaks for the first time on film; Trip to Bali - footage shot when Charlie and Sydney Chaplin visited Bali in 1932; Photo gallery - photos of the production and of the actors; Film posters; Trailers; The Chaplin Collection

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Chaplin The Tramp
Virginia Cherrill The Blind Girl
Harry Myers The Millionaire
Allan Garcia The Millionaire's Butler
Hank Mann The Boxer
Florence Lee Blind Girl's Grandmother
Albert Austin Street-cleaner
Henry Bergman Mayor,Janitor
James Donnelly Foreman
Jean Harlow Guest
John Rand Tramp
Stanhope Wheatcroft Man in Cafe
Robert Parrish Actor
Eddie Baker Actor
Jack Sutherland Party Guest

Technical Credits
Charles Chaplin Director,Score Composer,Editor,Producer,Screenwriter
Albert Austin Asst. Director,Screenwriter
Henry Bergman Asst. Director,Screenwriter
Harry Crocker Asst. Director,Screenwriter
Carl Davis Musical Direction/Supervision
Charles Hall Art Director
Alfred Newman Score Composer
Roland H. "Rollie" Totheroh Cinematographer

Scene Index

Side #1 -- The Film
1. Directed by Charles Chaplin [:53]
2. Peace and Prosperity [3:19]
3. Afternoon [2:04]
4. A Flower [2:53]
5. Evening [1:19]
6. Night [4:24]
7. I'll Live! [4:29]
8. The Night Club [6:02]
9. Early Morning [6:47]
10. The Sober Dawn [3:24]
11. The Party [4:10]
12. The Morning After [2:49]
13. Work [3:52]
14. Lunch Time [1:46]
15. To Play the Part of a Gentleman [4:20]
16. That Night [7:23]
17. The Ring [6:14]
18. Back From Europe [6:52]
19. For Your Eyes [3:19]
20. Autumn [6:07]


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City Lights 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"City Lights" is truly one of the greatest films ever made. Chaplin's mastery of pantomime, combined with an ingenious plot, provides us a film that resonates with us still. This film has laughs and packs an emotional wallop that will leave you in tears of happiness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let me join the consensus and call Charlie Chaplin¿s ¿City Lights¿ a masterpiece. It¿s only 81 minutes long, but they are among the best 81 minutes you could spend at the movies, and the last five minutes are simply exquisite. Simply keep your Kleenex box at arm¿s length as I doubt if there has been a more honest heartbreaking scene captured on film. When the formerly blind girl gives the Little Tramp a flower and ultimately says ¿Yes, I can see now¿, the scene takes on such emotional gravity as to defy explanation. Chaplin was at his zenith in 1928 when he took more than two years to develop and film this story, and the Little Tramp had already been a familiar character to audiences for over a decade. He had already made ¿The Gold Rush¿ (1925) and ¿The Circus¿ (1928) starring his character, both classics, so it¿s obvious he felt a need to take a somewhat different direction and explore an opportunity to deepen the character this time. The advent of talkies didn't stop Chaplin from making this ¿Comedy Romance in Pantomime¿ (as he subtitled it), as he knew giving the Little Tramp a voice would limit his character¿s appeal as a universal character. What I particularly enjoyed in this film is how the Little Tramp fancies himself as a well-mannered gentleman in spite of all the circumstances that bring him down, even going to prison for love. It is this self-delusion and his subsequent mistaken identity as a millionaire that leads him to the blind flower girl, played in an effectively plaintive manner by Virginia Cherrill. Her performance is a greatly underrated element in this film, as she displays the right amount of vacant innocence to make the last minutes so memorable. Simply compare her to the screen test shown of Georgia Hale, Chaplin¿s leading lady in 'The Gold Rush' and an obviously more experienced actress than Cherrill, who struggles to show the right balance between condescension and beatific revelation when she realize the Little Tramp is the ¿wealthy¿ gentleman who paid for the restoration of her sight. Of course, this would not be a Chaplin film without the brilliance of his comedy routines and there is a treasure trove of classic scenes ¿ the rising and lowering of the street elevator, the shifting musical chairs scene at the nightclub, the mock suicide at the canal and especially the boxing scene, which has been imitated so many lesser filmmakers (and was according to the footage included as a DVD extra, inspired by an earlier Chaplin short ¿The Champion¿ from 1915). Even a simple moment like when the Little Tramp mistakes a piece of thread from his vest for a ball of twine is impressive for the sheer delicacy of the moment. And special mention needs to go to Chaplin¿s musical score, where he beautifully interweaves José Padilla¿s 'La Violetta' as his love theme. The transfer to DVD is very good, and the 2-DVD set also has plenty of extras, though they are of variable interest. The Serge Bromberg documentary is quite interesting, as is the footage of Chaplin from a Vienna press tour since it captures the long-forgotten worldwide frenzy he created back then. The aforementioned Georgia Hale screen test is very interesting but runs on a bit too long. The 10-minute home movie of his trip to Bali has a certain anthropological interest but seems rather pointless otherwise. Regardless, the movie itself is rewarding enough and an exquisite jewel that completely justifies Chaplin¿s reputation as one of the world¿s leading filmmakers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not only did Chaplin star in this film, also wrote, directed and composed the music. The story is so perfectly developed in silence that the first two times I viewed it, I couldn't see the final five minutes through my tears, even though I knew what was going to happen.
yogi_bear More than 1 year ago
The golden years of Charlie. Unsurpassed by any other comedian. Silent makes it one of a kind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After watching this film, I realized I had just experienced one of the most remarkable moments of cinema at its finest. This is absolutely Charlie Chaplins finest hour and one of my favorite films of all time. It is one of the greatest comedies I have ever seen in my life. The end was heartbreaking and sad. This is one of the greatest American films ever made.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not Chaplin's best film, but it is definitely up there. It is heartwarming, but still one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. The ending is one of the best ever caught on film.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I made the pre-order for this item on 8 Nov., but B&N have postponed the shipping, and I have not received the item yet. B&N says that they have shipped the item on 7 Dec by international Priority Airmail , which usually takes 4-14 business days to Japan. This can't be a "service", can it be? I can not review the item which I have not received, so I rate the service of B&N instead.