City Lights by Charlie Chaplin


I must admit, I'm someone who is not easily moved while watching films. I would laugh during the sad part of films if I find them too cheesy or lame, even though others may find it very sad. And although there may be a genuinely sad scene, I would just brush it off and not be affected by it, as it is 'simply a movie', nothing to be sad about, they're not really dying, haha.. But there is this one movie which never fails to move me every single time. It's 'City Lights' by Charlie Chaplin, which in my humble opinion could be considered to be one of the best movies of all time.

It's about a Tramp (played by Chaplin, who else?) who saw a blind girl on the street selling flowers and fell in love with her. However, the girl thought he was a millionaire who could help her to pay for an eye operation to regain her sight. Not wanting to disappoint her, he pretends to be one and tries his best to raise the money for her operation. When he finally managed to raise the money and gave it to her, he was caught by the police for an offence and thrown in jail. Fast forward a few months, the girl is now recovered and has her own thriving flower shop. She is always on the lookout for the millionaire who gave her the money for the operation, looking hopefully at all the rich gentlemen who patronised her shop, hoping that her hero would return. When at last the Tramp got released from jail, he went to the place where the blind girl would normally sit, but she was not there anymore. Dejected, he wandered aimlessly until he came face to face with her at her shop. Not recognising him, she laughed at his stunned expression and offered him a flower and some money. When she took his hand to give him the money, she immediately recognised who he was.

"You?" she says as she realizes that the tramp before her is the reason she can see.
"Yes" replies the nervous tramp, his face a map of shame, pride, love and devotion.
"You can see now?," he asks.
"Yes. I can see now," she replies

The expression on Chaplin's face before the movie ends is simply brilliant, conveying the multiple feelings the tramp is having. The feeling of shame, pride, love and devotion to the girl. The welling up of his eyes, the finger in the mouth, the slight uncertain smile. It makes the viewer symphatize, feel sad and happy at the same time. I can watch this scene a thousand times and be touched every single time. If you have not watched it, you are missing out on a masterpiece by one of the greatest filmmakers of all time!


1 comment:

gretel said...

You are absolutely correct. This is one of the best scenes in the history of cinema.
I was looking for the music track of the boxing scene, which I find extremely beautiful, when I ran into your blog.
Pleased to see I'm not the only one touched by this movie.
Chaplin composed the music for this film....and for many others I hear.
This is the track I mentioned. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zskO9O3hF78&feature=related