City Lights (1931)

31 Dec

I’ve fallen considerably behind on my quest of watching the AFI top 100 movies.  I got
City Lights from Netflix almost a month ago, and just haven’t been in the mood to watch a silent film.  Watching an old movie is like going to the gym.  I often moan and groan and put it off, but when I finally get around to it, it’s an enjoyable experience.

City Lights is clever and charming, and Charlie Chaplin’s role in this film is by far his most famous.  Chaplin plays the “Little Tramp” who falls for a blind flower girl, and vows to scrounge up the money for a surgery that will restore her eyesight.  The downfall is that once she has the surgery, she’ll be able to see the real him, and learn he’s not really a millionaire.

Most of the film is physical goofs.  They really are funny, I laughed out loud a few times.  Chaplin is, well, Chaplin…but I do think Buster Keaton is funnier.  Chaplin tries harder to be funny, while Keaton played the straight man, who falls into funny situations–which I find to be a whole lot funnier.

I am glad for my AFI goal, because I would have never bothered to watch this film otherwise.  I probably won’t go out of my way to watch many more Chaplin movies (although I will be seeing Modern Times, since it’s on the list) but I’m glad to have seen this one.

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