Charlie Chaplin film City Lights 1931 – Best Romantic Comedies

The greatest Charlie Chaplin film, City Lights is a classic screwball comedy film and one of the best romantic comedy movies ever. The movie was named the best romantic comedy film by American Film Institute.

With City Lights Chaplin achieved his greatest artistic success. The King of Comedy considered the film his personal favorite of all of his classic comedy movies.

City Lights has been praised by top critics and famous movie directors, including Orson Wells, Stanley Kubrick, Andrei Tarkovsky, Federico Fellini and Woody Allen.

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Charlie Chaplin film – Plot Teaser

Chaplin’s Tramp character meets a poor blind girl, who mistakes him for a wealthy man.

To help the girl pay for rent and an eye surgery, the Tramp attempts to collect money in various ways.

Charlie Chaplin film – Movie Reviews


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Best Charlie Chaplin film – Movie Review

Sure, there were comedians before Charlie Chaplin. But the comedy film genre today is the one Chaplin had created.

Before City Lights Charlie Chaplin already was the greatest international film star in the world. Silent films were a big international commodity precisely because they were silent. Chaplin once said that he earned his production costs from Japan alone. Audiences around the world could relate to the Tramp character partly because he had no voice and no identity associated with any language.

When talkies emerged with full force in late 1920’s, some people were excited, others were hesitant. Charlie Chaplin, when asked about sound movies, replied: “You can tell’em I loathe them… They are ruining the great beauty of silence.”

Charlie Chaplin knew that English dialogue would limit Tramp’s universal appeal (subtitles had not been invented yet). More than that, it would be a heavy blow to his art form. Charlie Chaplin was a mime: “I was a pantomimist and in that medium I was unique and, without false modesty, a master.” He knew the future was not bright for silent Charlie Chaplin movies.

Despite all these concerns, Charlie Chaplin decided to proceed with another silent romantic comedy film – a quintessential Charlie Chaplin movie. He developed a script for the City Lights movie and spent close to 3 years making it.

The Tramp - Charlie Chaplin film - City Lights (1931)
The Blind Girl - Charlie Chaplin film - City Lights (1931)

At the time, when average length of a movie production was several months, Charlie Chaplin spent several weeks filming one scene. He was a perfectionist. Stan Laurel, a famous comedian and Charlie Chaplin’s contemporary said: “The difference between Charlie and all the rest of us who made comedy - with only one exception, Buster Keaton – was that he just absolutely refused to do anything but the best.”

Charlie Chaplin’s blind girl, Virginia Cherrill, noted that one scene took so long to film that her hair was visibly different in length from take to take. Watching Charlie Chaplin City Lights film, it is hard to imagine that there were countless hours of work behind seemingly effortless scenes.

Charlie Chaplin could afford to take as much time as he needed – he owned Charlie Chaplin studios. He was the writer, director, producer and the star of the romantic comedy film. He also wrote the music, or rather “la-la-la’ed” it to his collaborator who wrote it down. Charlie Chaplin, a self-taught piano, cello and violin player, couldn't read notes.

When one of the best comedies of all time finally came out, Charlie Chaplin was understandably nervous. By 1931, all major studios had already converted to producing talkies. The public also had voted at the box office – people wanted talkies!

Nonetheless, the romantic comedy film was an instant success with the critics and the audiences. Suffering from the Great Depression, the world bonded even more with the poor Tramp and his blind girl. Charlie Chaplin’s biographer, Joyce Milton, stated that the movie recovered its enormous budget of over $1.5 million in the city of Paris alone.

Charlie Chaplin proved to himself and the rest of the world that there are movies and then there are Charlie Chaplin films.

Best Charlie Chaplin film – Movie Recommendation

City Lights film might not be Charlie Chaplin’s funniest or most controversial of his classic comedy movies, but it is simply perfect. It has the mark of the best films of all time – an unforgettably pleasant after-taste for the rest of your life.

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