Continuing my movie edumacation with Charlie Chaplin, Wendy & I caught the 1931 classic City Lights at our local indie theater. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Of course, I’d seen a million clips before but never a full movie. I assumed the humor would be somewhat dated but I’d still be able to appreciate it. I was right but that’s not the whole story.
What I Liked: I laughed…a lot. From early in the picture when the Tramp is trying to unhook his pants from a sword so he can climb down from a statue to a classic boxing match to many an escapade with a drunken millionaire, I was wiping my eyes. I was completely amazed by the intricate choreography many of the laughs required. Not only was Chaplin amazing but he surrounded himself with talented performers. Almost everyone on screen is a dancer in this hilarious ballet. The movie is tender as well. A blind flower girl that Chaplin falls for & tries to help weaves a common narrative thread through several comedic episodes.
It’s easy to see Chaplin’s influence on decades of comedy; from Bugs Bunny to screwball comedies to Jackie Chan.
What I Didn’t Like: very little. Yes, some humor is a little dated but not as much as I expected. Good physical humor & likable characters are funny in any era!
Bottomline: Long live the Tramp!
Chick 2 says:
Our local art house was hosting a festival on the subject of the homeless and my sister and I were fortunate enough to see Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights on the big screen, starring Chaplin as his most famous character, The Tramp. I had never seen any of Chaplin’s films and his impact on film and comedy in general was immediately obvious. What I appreciated so much in childhood watching the antics of Tim Conway, Bugs Bunny, and others was so brilliantly displayed in its origin by Chaplin. The humor was, of course, dated and at first I only greatly appreciated his talent without outwardly expressing anything, but eventually his genius physical comedy and instinctive timing had me laughing my head off. I greatly want to see more of his classics, and my hat goes off to those who use their talent to not only create social commentary, but also make us laugh (hard) in the process.
IF you’re looking for classic American comedy in it’s origins, THEN GO (rent it).