Classic Movies: City Lights
Written, produced, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin, City Lights was released in 1931 as a silent movie four years after the introduction of sound films.
The story centres on Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp and his relationship with a Blind Flower Girl, played by Virginia Cherrill on her debut. Virginia Cherrill is outstanding in this movie and her touching scenes with the Tramp are the highlight of the film.
Through a series of misadventures, the Tramp seeks to gather enough money to pay for an operation that will restore the Blind Flower Girl’s sight. She mistakes him for a millionaire, but with her sight restored, she realises that her benefactor is a humble tramp.
No spoilers, but in 1949 film critic James Agee said that the film’s final scene was “the greatest single piece of acting ever committed to celluloid.”
Rightly regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time, City Lights is Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece, the epitome of the silent movie. Even if you are not a Chaplin or silent movie fan, if you are a romantic you will love this film.
Hannah Howe, author of Tula and Sunshine, novels set during the Golden Age of Hollywood. https://hannah-howe.com