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City Lights (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD) (1931)

Charlie Chaplin , Charlie Chaplin  |  R |  Blu-ray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.95
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City Lights (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD) + Modern Times (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The Gold Rush (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Charlie Chaplin
  • Directors: Charlie Chaplin
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: November 12, 2013
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004OOL73W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,906 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Chaplin Today: City Lights, a 2003 documentary on the film's production
  • New audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
  • Chaplin Studios: Creative Freedom by Design, a new interview program
  • Archival footage from the production of City Lights, including film from the set
  • Excerpt from Chaplin's short film The Champion (1915)
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Gary Giddins and more

  • Editorial Reviews

    The most cherished film by Charlie Chaplin (Modern Times) is also his ultimate Little Tramp chronicle. The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dramatic poignancy, with this silent tale of a lovable vagrant falling for a young blind woman who sells flowers on the street (a magical Virginia Cherrill) and mistakes him for a millionaire. Though this Depression-era smash was made after the advent of sound, Chaplin remained steadfast in his love for the expressive beauty of the pre-talkie form. The result was the epitome of his art and the crowning achievement of silent comedy.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars CITY LIGHTS SHINES WITH A NEW BRILLIANCE November 12, 2013
    By Casey62
    Verified Purchase
    When it comes to selecting a favorite among the sublime works of Charlie Chaplin, I can narrow it down to three features: THE GOLD RUSH (1925), CITY LIGHTS (1931), and MODERN TIMES (1936). Out of those, my favorite is whichever one I saw last, and for now the favor falls on CITY LIGHTS.

    Released when talkies were already firmly grounded, Chaplin's last silent production was a staunch holdout in the face of the new technology and thankfully so, for CITY LIGHTS stands today as one of the most eloquent examples of pantomimed cinema ever made. The simple story about a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill in a beautiful performance) who falls in love with a tramp whom she mistakes for her benefactor, forms the backbone on which Chaplin constructs some of his funniest and most poignant moments. The film is both parts comedy and romance, and shows us most exquisitely that true love can indeed be blind.

    Criterion's Blu-ray/DVD combo release of this ageless classic is glorious in image/audio quality. The film, scanned at 4K from two 35mm dupe negatives has never looked better, preserving a pleasing grain consistency and perfect tonal range. Details in textures and backgrounds are also flawlessly reproduced in HD. The audio is undistorted and completely hiss free; I especially like how dynamic the music sounds in the main title and boxing sequence.
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    11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Why Criterion switched to dual format. November 15, 2013
    Verified Purchase
    A lot of people are complaining about the fact that Criterion now releases DVD and Blu-ray in a single bundle, eliminating the consumers' option of buying each separately. Criterion has released a well-written explanation on this (just Google "Why Dual-Format? Criterion"). Basically, since Criterion can only afford production by printing in large quantities, it is not nearly as cost-efficient to produce DVDs and Blu-rays simultaneously as producing them in "one big, cost-effective run".
    The important point is that the price WOULD NOT INCREASE, as many have noticed: the great majority of Criterion Blu-rays and DVDs have been priced at 40 bucks each, and the dual format edition is also priced at $40. Amazon just doesn't cut down the price as much. If you want to save money, Barnes and Noble is hosting a 50%-off sale right now (online and in store), so you can get this for 20 bucks plus tax.
    That said, this is a wonderful Blu-ray. I trust that people familiar with Criterion products know this already, but just in case you're curious, Blu-ray.com has a detailed review on this release; it is certainly a big improvement over all the previous releases (DVDs and Blu-rays) in terms of picture and sound quality. Also, this is one of the greatest films in movie history and has one of the greatest endings ever, so I don't know why you would not at least consider buying this.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Twilight of the Tramp at the Dawn of Sound December 7, 2013
    Charlie Chaplin was in pre-production on City Lights in 1927, when Warner Brothers shook the movie industry to its core with the introduction of recorded dialog in a feature-length film, The Jazz Singer. Chaplin was contemptuous of sound, saying that he would proceed with City Lights as a non-talking film, (although with recorded music and sound effects), and that by the time it was released "talkies" would have run their course and disappeared. Chaplin had absolute control over the production of his films, as actor, writer, music composer, director, and producer. He owed nothing to the bank, and took orders from no studio. He lavished time and money on the film, with the scene in which Chaplin's tramp first meets the blind flower girl requiring 342 takes over the course of more than a year before he was satisfied. Three years in production saw the completion of Chaplin's ultimate silent film, but meanwhile sound films had solidified their dominance, and movies had changed forever.

    Of all the pantheon of silent comedy stars, only Chaplin could have succeeded in releasing a silent film four years into the sound era, but even he was apprehensive. Chaplin confided to Samuel Goldwyn that if City Lights proved to be a box office flop, he was ruined. Released in 1931, in its opening scene City Lights even made a mocking reference to talking films. The dignitaries unveiling a sculpture tableaux entitled "Peace and Prosperity" speak through a kazoo, with Chaplin performing the voices. In this same scene Chaplin uses the hand of a male figure in the tableaux to thumb his nose at society in general and the "talkies" in particular.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    This is a beautifully presented set. The booklet is gorgeous and well worth the purchase alone. The extras are very interesting and brilliantly presented. As for the film itself, it has never looked or sounded better, simply magnificent. I personally think it is a great idea for Criterion to release a dual format edition, in a sense you save money. I do not need to go in to detail about the film it speaks for itself, beautiful.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars A great classic!
    One of my top 10 all time great classic films beautifully restored to its original brilliance by Criterion bluray :-)
    Published 26 days ago by K. AUNG
    5.0 out of 5 stars the best from the best
    the master in top form. no need for lengthy analysis or discussion. buy it, watch it, then repeat as needed. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by pops
    5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing film gets an amazing transfer!
    Not much to say about City Lights that hasn't been said before so I'll just repeat what everyone has known about this film for 80 some years; One of the best movies ever made and... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by M. Purgatori
    5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE GREATEST CHAPLIN FILMS. A MASTERPIECE!.
    I already had the Warner DVD version of this film but the new Criterion release beats the hell out of the Warner version. A very moving and effective Chaplin film. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Felipe N. Gajate
    4.0 out of 5 stars Silent charmer.
    Refreshing reminder of the charm of this all-but-forgotten art form. Unable to find this film for purchase on DVD from any other vendor, so much appreciated.
    Published 2 months ago by W. J. Howitt
    5.0 out of 5 stars THOSE LAST TEN MINUTES.
    I saw this some five years back and the last scene has stayed with me since. I felt this is where Charlie Chaplin truly immortalised himself. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Harkanwar Anand
    5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate classic
    For me, this movie contains all the ingredients of a timeless classic. I lovet and watch it over and over.
    Published 3 months ago by Ivan Aleksa
    5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin's Best
    WOW! This has to be Chaplin's finest movie. And, seeing it in blu-ray makes me realize how it first looked to those wsho saw the original screening. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by jimv
    5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin's most poignant film...
    I just finished watching City Lights (Criterion Collection) BLU-RAY/DVD DUAL FORMAT EDITION for the tenth time and even though I know the film by heart, I still laugh out loud at... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Joseph Levitt
    5.0 out of 5 stars A lovingly restored and quite lovely edition of one of the greatest of...
    The film opens as politicians celebrate a new monument to prosperity. Their speeches are empty words, gibberish. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by N. Andersen
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    Topic From this Discussion
    Why so expensive?
    Criterion never said that it would remain the same price as the DVD. They said that the cost of the Blu-Ray would not increase. They're safeguarding your investment in the film. If you don't have a blu-ray player yet (honestly, what in hell are you waiting for?), they're allowing you to have the... Read more
    Dec 13, 2013 by filmgenius89 |  See all 3 posts
    WORST cover art work EVER
    The cover is nicely designed, although I've seen stronger caricatures of Chaplin.
    It's not the cover, but the contents, that matter. Criterion editions are beautifully produced and worth the money.
    Sep 3, 2013 by Nancy Beiman |  See all 3 posts
    Barnes and Noble Critereon Sale 5
    Here's the deal. Amazon does not price match on media, but price isn't always important. At my ripe old age of 72, I have learned that dealing with a GREAT CUSTOMER-MINDED OUTFIT, i.e., Amazon, is worth the extra money one pays rather than buying from the 2nd worst company on the planet, Barnes... Read more
    Nov 12, 2013 by Bennie Quincy Shaft |  See all 2 posts
    The One Criterion Edition I've Been Waiting For Be the first to reply
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