Director: Charlie Chaplin

87 mins, USA, 1931, Black & White, Silent, Digital

The advent of sound presented something of a predicament for Chaplin in that he was wary of giving the beloved Tramp a voice; his solution was simply to ignore the new development and to continue with the project as initially conceived, as a silent feature. Chaplin’s demands for perfection led to a massively protracted shoot during which actors were fired and rehired. Despite his concerns, City Lights represented another significant artistic triumph. The Tramp falls in love with a blind flower girl, who has mistaken him for a wealthy man. His intermittent friendship with an actual millionaire puts him in a position to help pay for an operation to restore her sight. Typically, the course of love does not run smooth in a film Orson Welles claimed to be his favourite.

This film screens as part of the Charlie Chaplin: A Smile And A Tear season, screening February 12th to 27th.

Age recommendation: 8+

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