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City Lights (1931)

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Florence Lee ...
The Blind Girl's Grandmother
...
...
James - the Millionaire's Butler (as Allan Garcia)
...
...
A Tramp (as Charlie Chaplin)
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Storyline

A tramp falls in love with a beautiful blind girl. Her family is in financial trouble. The tramp's on-and-off friendship with a wealthy man allows him to be the girl's benefactor and suitor. Written by John J. Magee <magee@helix.mgh.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

7 March 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

City Lights: A Comedy Romance in Pantomime  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$19,181, 6 July 2007
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (musical score)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before it was released into theatres, Charles Chaplin had a secret sneak preview screening in downtown Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it was an experience that he described as "ghastly" because "our film was thrown on to the screen to a half-empty house. The audience had come to see a drama and not a comedy, and they did not recover from their bewilderment until halfway through the picture. There were laughs, but feeble ones." Some of the audience members even walked out in the middle of the film, according to Chaplin. "I left the theater with a feeling of two years' work and two million dollars having gone down the drain," he said in his autobiography. See more »

Goofs

In the famous fight scene, several spectators in the back row(s) of the gallery are motionless, either painted on a matte painting, or cut-outs or mannequins. In the shot of The Tramp dreaming of the flower girl, and the following shot with the trainers again kneeling around him, we see a particularly obvious mannequin or statue, a man in a light gray suit, in the lower right corner of the screen. He also is visible in other scenes. See more »

Quotes

The Tramp: You can see now?
A Blind Girl: Yes, I can see now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murder, She Wrote: Where Have You Gone, Billy Boy? (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Romance
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Chaplin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
You can't go wrong with Charlie Chaplin, but City Lights is even better than Chaplin's films usually are.
22 December 2000 | by See all my reviews

Chaplin takes himself a little more seriously in City Lights, and the results are spectacular. The musical score which Chaplin composed for the film was one of the many highlights, and even though Charlie's performance is much more dramatic than usual in some scenes, the hilarious comedy for which he is known and loved is still abundant.

City Lights is so well made that it is one of the very few movies in which the obvious flaws can be gladly overlooked. Yes, you can clearly see the string holding Chaplin up in the sidesplittingly funny boxing scene, but who cares? That is such classic slapstick that little things like that really don't matter. Besides, let's keep in mind that this movie was made seventy years ago.

Chaplin does a phenomenal job in his traditional role of the tramp, and develops a perfectly convincing romantic relationship with the blind flower girl on the sidewalk. His friendship with the drunken rich guy is hilarious, but it also makes a significant comment about the problems of alcohol. This is truly a great film, which should not be forgotten.


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