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Movie Reviews

City Lights  

Silent films are hardly seen or talked about these days anymore. They
launched off cinema at the dawn of the twentieth century, but now have
pretty much been replaced by ear-splitting car chases, roaring dinosaurs and
crashing asteroids. Not that any of these are objectionable, but it's just
that despite all what sound has to offer, "City Lights" has achieved what
very few talkies ever do.

Chaplin plays the lovable Little Tramp. He meets a beautiful blind girl
(Virginia Cherrill) selling flowers on the sidewalk, who honestly mistakes
him for a wealthy man. The Little Tramp falls in love with her, and plays
along as the rich benefactor. He learns about her financial woes and a
possible operation that may give back her sight. Being genuinely righteous
as he is, he tirelessly seeks a way to help her.

First and foremost, "City Lights" is a good old-fashioned comedy, for it
showcases Chaplin's talents for physical humor, slapstick and perfectly
choreographed routines. He is great as the Little Tramp, and this film
shows why the character is one of the most recognized and remembered figures
in motion picture history. There are lots of hilarious and memorable scenes
that will make you laugh and understand why Chaplin is a comic genius.

The film was actually done during a period when talkies were becoming more
and more popular. Chaplin pokes fun at these sound movies by starting off
"City Lights" with a politician giving a speech to a crowd. However,
instead of listening to (or reading) eloquent words and sentences, what we
vaguely hear is unintelligible twaddle.

What makes the film great though is the way it evokes emotion despite its
stark simplicity. The musical score, which Chaplin also did, highly
complements the imagery. And then there's the ending, which is truly one of
the most emotional scenes ever filmed. I will not mention it here since I
firmly believe that the less you know, the more endearing the surprise.

If you are to see just one silent movie, make it "City Lights". This
masterpiece will make you smile from start to finish and will touch your
heart for a very long time.


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