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City Lights (Charles Chaplin 1931)

Reaction: I so needed to see this!

I swear that every single time I looked at my MoFo movie list I'd see City Lights and think, 'damn this movie made every list.' OK, maybe it's not on every list, but it's on 10 MoFo list! I don't think any other movie appears on so many of our list here at MoFo.

I enjoy silent films and I've loved a number of Chaplin's greats: Modern Times, The Kid, The Gold Rush and others. I wish I could say I also loved City Lights, but I found it only OK. I wasn't really impressed with it and maybe that's because I was really, really tired that night. Being tired can dampening one's emotional resonances to a movie. Or maybe I wasn't really into City Lights because subconsciously I was comparing it to Buster Keaton's The General which I recently watched and was very impressed with.

When the film started I noted that it was 1931, that's into the sound era. Odd that Chaplin decided to stay with a silent film when sound was the thing at that point but I guess his confidence in himself as an actor was relaying emotion through body language and facial expression. And he does that like no one else!

Unlike The Kid and other of Chaplin's earlier films, I felt like the story here didn't earn it's pathos. It was like Chaplin was burnt out and just went to the same movie well one too many times. I mean you get the Tramp falling in love with the poor blind girl who's about to be evicted out of her home. The Tramp then helps her. That all seemed kind of hackneyed and pandering to the audiences emotions. Where as other of his films earned the audiences accolades. Or maybe I was just tired like I said.

I'd call City Lights middle of the road, BUT very glad to have watched it finally.