The Criterion Collection
DVD + Blu-ray
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.
The extra features (available in both formats) include a commentary by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance, a 2003 documentary on the film's making, a piece on Chaplin's visual design, archival footage from the production of CITY LIGHTS (a costume test, a rehearsal, a complete unused scene), an excerpt from Chaplin's 1915 short THE CHAMPION, trailers, a booklet with an essay by critic Gary Giddins and a 1966 interview with Chaplin.
CITY LIGHTS is silent film comedy at its absolute finest, as well as a deeply moving cinematic poem from a genius craftsman of the medium.
My highest recommendation.
Chaplin was (and IS) an unsurpassed genius. It's a given that ALL his films had more than their share of brilliance, but "City Lights" shines (no pun intended) above them all. It's unquestionably his Magnum Opus. Charlie was a one-of-a kind master at combining (with notable perfection) his ever-so-ingenius and irreverant slapstick with genuinely heart-wrenching pathos..and it looked like he did it effortlessly, though we all know how much of a hard-working perfectionist he was (a perfectionism which nearly bordered on neurotic at times)..but..that said, I believe that what he created and bequeathed to us all in his collective legacy has no doubt deeply enriched humanity. Masterworks like "Gold Rush", "The Kid", "Modern Times" and "The Great Dictator" will forever stand as testaments to his unique place as one of the greatest artists who ever graced the planet. I suppose I'm slightly bias because I personally cherish every frame of every film this supremely gifted man ever committed to celluloid. Who better than the Little Tramp could show the often-beleagured state of the human condition on terra firma in all it's splendor, tragedy, cruelty and compassion with more subtle and overt ELOQUENCE ? I firmly believe that "City Lights" stands shoulder to shoulder with the Mona Lisa, The Cistine Chapel, Beethoven's 5th & 9th, (et.al.) as one of the greatest works of Art ever made. (and that's not obsequious hyperbole, either..)
Call the film "overly sentimental", it matters not..I for one will never forget two key moment's in this, Chaplin's most beloved work...number one, when the Tramp first realizes that his lovely flower girl is blind (the compassionate look on Charlie's face is priceless beyond words) -it's the moment you KNOW he first begins to fall in love with her...and rightly so. Virginia Cherrill was THE perfect choice to play this role--she and Charlie just couldn't have been more endearing together(despite the famous occassional on-set tensions) And secondly (of course), is the more-beautiful-than-can-be-described ending. You'd literally need an actual heart of stone NOT to be moved to unabashed tears. No matter how often I view it, those final moments of the film never fail to do the job of tearing me to ribbons (and I wouldn't have it any other way)
I truly believe that if Charlie Chaplin had only made this ONE film in his entire career (though luckily for us all, that wasn't the case), IT ALONE would have made him IMMORTAL.
One of the most beautiful things you'll ever see. I ASSURE you, you'll never forget the last scene of City Lights for as long as you draw breath. Long Live Chaplin.
Most recent customer reviews
What a way to connect two characters into each other as part of the golden days of cinema.