IMDb > City Lights (1931)
City Lights
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City Lights (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
8.6/10   74,820 votes »
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Director:
Writer:
Charles Chaplin (written by)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for City Lights on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 March 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
The Tramp struggles to help a blind flower girl he has fallen in love with. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
True Blind Love See more (189 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Virginia Cherrill ... A Blind Girl
Florence Lee ... The Blind Girl's Grandmother
Harry Myers ... An Eccentric Millionaire
Al Ernest Garcia ... The Millionaire's Butler (as Allan Garcia)
Hank Mann ... A Prizefighter

Charles Chaplin ... A Tramp (as Charlie Chaplin)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Alexander ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
T.S. Alexander ... Doctor (uncredited)
Victor Alexander ... Superstitious Boxer (uncredited)
Albert Austin ... Street Sweeper / Burglar (uncredited)
Harry Ayers ... Cop (uncredited)
Eddie Baker ... Boxing Fight Referee (uncredited)
Henry Bergman ... Mayor / Blind Girl's Downstairs Neighbor (uncredited)
Betty Blair ... Woman at Center of Table in Restaurant (uncredited)
Buster Brodie ... Bald Party Guest (uncredited)
Jeanne Carpenter ... Extra in Restaurant Scene (uncredited)
Marie Cooper ... Dancer (uncredited)
Tom Dempsey ... Boxer (uncredited)
Peter Diego ... Man in Mix-Up with Coat and Hat (uncredited)
James Donnelly ... Steet Sweepers' Foreman (uncredited)
Ray Erlenborn ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Mrs. Garcia ... Woman at Left of Table in Restaurant (uncredited)
Milton Gowman ... Extra in Street Scene (uncredited)
Robert Graves ... Police Officer (uncredited)
Charles Hammond ... Extra in Street Scene (uncredited)

Jean Harlow ... Extra in Restaurant Scene (uncredited)
Ad Herman ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
Joseph Herrick ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
Mrs. Hyams ... Flower Shop Assistant (uncredited)
Austen Jewell ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Willie Keeler ... Boxer (uncredited)
A.B. Lane ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
Eddie McAuliffe ... Eddie Mason - Boxer (uncredited)
Margaret Oliver ... Extra in Street Scene (uncredited)
Robert Parrish ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Mrs. Pope ... Extra in Restaurant Scene (uncredited)
John Rand ... Tramp Who Dives for Cigar (uncredited)
Granville Redmond ... Sculptor (uncredited)
W.C. Robinson ... Man Who Throws Away Cigar (uncredited)
Cy Slocum ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
Tony Stabenau ... Victorious Boxer - Later Knocked Out (uncredited)
Mark Strong ... Man in Restaurant (uncredited)
Jack Sutherland ... Tall Man at Party (uncredited)
Joe Van Meter ... Burglar (uncredited)
Emmett Wagner ... Second (uncredited)
Tiny Ward ... Man in Elevator in Front of the Art Shop (uncredited)
Stanhope Wheatcroft ... Distinguished Gentleman in Cafe (uncredited)
Florence Wix ... Woman Who Sits on Cigar (uncredited)
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Directed by
Charles Chaplin 
 
Writing credits
Charles Chaplin (written by)

Harry Clive  uncredited
Harry Crocker  uncredited

Produced by
Charles Chaplin .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Charles Chaplin (music composed by)
 
Cinematography by
Gordon Pollock (photographer)
Roland Totheroh (photographer) (as Rollie Totheroh)
 
Film Editing by
Charles Chaplin (uncredited)
Willard Nico (uncredited)
 
Casting by
Al Ernest Garcia (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Charles D. Hall (settings)
 
Production Management
Alfred Reeves .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Albert Austin .... assistant director
Henry Bergman .... assistant director
Harry Crocker .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Theodore Reed .... sound supervisor (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ralph Barton .... still photographer (uncredited)
Mark Marlatt .... camera operator (uncredited)
Frank Testera .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Peter Culverwell .... assistant editor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Tim Grover .... assistant editor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
 
Music Department
Carl Davis .... musical director (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Robert Hathaway .... music editor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score) (as Bob Hathaway)
John Hayward .... music dubbing mixer (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Arthur Johnston .... musical arrangement
Dick Lewzey .... music recordist (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Alfred Newman .... musical director
José Padilla .... composer: additional music
Paul Wing .... orchestral contractor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
 
Transportation Department
Toraichi Kono .... driver: Mr. Chaplin (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Kevin Brownlow .... supervisor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
David Gill .... supervisor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Harry Crocker .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Carlyle Robinson .... press representative (uncredited)
Della Steele .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Lansdowne Studios  recorded at (as C.T.S. Studios, London) (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
  • Pinewood Studios  re-recording at (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"City Lights: A Comedy Romance in Pantomime" - USA (copyright title)
See more »
Runtime:
87 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Silent | Mono (musical score)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Chile:TE | Denmark:A (2003) | France:U | Germany:6 (re-rating) (1997) | Netherlands:14 (re-rating) (1954) | Netherlands:AL (re-rating) (1954) (slightly cut) | Netherlands:14 (original rating) (1931) | Netherlands:AL (re-rating) (1931) | Norway:7 | Portugal:M/6 (DVD rating) | South Korea:All | Spain:T | Sweden:Btl | UK:U | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:G (1972) | West Germany:12 (1951)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Though no footage of Georgia Hale appears in the finished film, the reconciliation scene she shot for him in Virginia Cherrill's absence, has survived.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: During the film's final scene, The Tramp is seen holding the flower to his face when seen from the front; when seen from the rear, he is holding it to his lapel.See more »
Quotes:
The Tramp:Be careful how you're driving.
Eccentric Millionaire:Am I driving?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Happy RomanceSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is this movie based on a book?
Why is it called "City Lights"?
See more »
50 out of 67 people found the following review useful.
True Blind Love, 15 February 2003
Author: lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida

CITY LIGHTS (United Artists, 1931), written, directed and starring Charlie Chaplin (1889- l977), is a silent comedy-drama released at the height of the sound era. Distributing a movie in the silent film tradition at the time when silents were considered a fad, Chaplin gambled with this production, and made it pay off. Although Chaplin hails THE GOLD RUSH (1925) as the one movie he would most want to be remembered, CITY LIGHTS nearly dims out his GOLD RUSH and at the same time, practically places his other silent masterpiece, THE CIRCUS (1928) to oblivion. CITY LIGHTS has stood the test of time, balancing perfectly a mixture of comedy and drama, but in Chaplin's case, pathos.

Subtitled, "A comedy romance in pantomime," the story opens in the early morning where the mayor is dedicating a statue to the citizens of the city. After the unveiling, the crowd finds a little tramp (Charlie Chaplin) sleeping on the lap of one of the figures. As he tries to climb down, he encounters one problem after another. This opening scene alone is priceless. With such a great beginning, Chaplin adds in more comedic insertions blended into the plot. The theme to CITY LIGHTS is remembered mainly about a tramp's love for a blind girl. However, there is a subplot, involving the tramp's involvement with a millionaire drunk, which, by far, takes up more time than the sentimental love story. These two segments actually set the pattern. First segment, set in the afternoon, finds Charlie walking down the street, examining a nude statue in a shop, being annoyed by some newsboys making fun of his tattered clothing. He encounters a beautiful blonde girl (Virginia Cherrill) selling flowers. After she drops one of her flowers, Charlie notices her feeling about the sidewalk for it, thus, realizing she's blind. Smitten by her beauty, he picks it up and pays her for it. Minutes later, the slamming of a limousine door is heard, with the girl believing the kind gentleman, Charlie, to be a millionaire. Second segment, set at night, finds Charlie encountering a drunk (Harry Myers) trying to commit suicide by drowning himself. Just as Charlie is about to save him, he in turn falls into the river. The drunk, in gratitude for saving his life, takes Charlie under his wing to accompany him to various night clubs until dawn. By morning, the millionaire, now sober, fails to recognize or remember Charlie and orders orders his butler to escort this stranger out of his mansion. This running gag that's repeated in the story might play itself as repetitious, but Chaplin manages to breathe new life and funnier routines through his encounters with the drunk and their all night binges. By day, Charlie looks after the blind girl and worries when she's not at her usual corner selling flowers. Finding that she's ill and being cared by her grandmother (Florence Lee), whose behind with her rent and threatened with eviction, Charlie offers to help by obtaining and losing various jobs, ranging from street-cleaning to fighting in a boxing match. Reading in a newspaper of a European doctor who restores sight for the blind, Charlie gives the girl $1,000 for an operation, the money offered to him by the drunken millionaire, who, after sober, accuses Charlie of robbing him, has his arrested and serving jail time. The climatic finish is truly the best thing Chaplin has ever done and certainly one not to be missed.

Featured in the supporting cast are Henry Bergman, Allan Garcia, Albert Austin, and Hank Mann. While much has been discussed about Chaplin's performance, his co-star, Virginia Cherrill, as the blind girl (no name given), should not go without mention. Even though her future film career consisted of forgettable programmers, and at one time being one of the future wives of film actor, Cary Grant, her performance is excellent by all means. Although it's been said that future film star Jean Harlow (1911-1937) appears as an unbilled extra in the night club sequence, she is visible in a surviving still photograph, but no such scene appears in the finished product.

Unlike THE GOLD RUSH, CITY LIGHTS had limited showings in revival houses in later years, and was never allowed to be distributed to television. Being first introduced to CITY LIGHTS at New York City's revival movie house, The Regency Theater, formerly located on Broadway and 67th Street, in 1979, the memorable thing about this event are the roars of laughter from its theater packed audience. There was one man, probably a big fan reliving his childhood memories, whose laughter almost drowned out the underscoring of the film. No doubt he was having more fun watching this movie than anyone else. Watching CITY LIGHTS surrounded by an appreciative audience theater is one way to truly appreciate and experience the feel of silent film comedy, and to think back as to how the audience reacted in same back in 1931.

After Chaplin's death in December of 1977, CITY LIGHTS, along with his other silent features, were not only resurrected for a new generation to endure, but became readily available on video cassette at the time of Chaplin's 100th birthday, 1989. In later years, CITY LIGHTS was frequently revived on various cable channels, ranging from Turner Network Television (TNT) in the early 1990s, American Movie Classics up to 2001, and finally Turner Classic Movies. The complete musical soundtrack that accompanies CITY LIGHTS happens to be the original score composed to perfection by Chaplin himself.

Much has been written and said about CITY LIGHTS over the years. To learn more about the making, difficulties and long term preparations to CITY LIGHTS, either watch Kevin Blownlow's 1980 documentary, Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film, as narrated by James Mason, or Brownlow's other documentaries dedicated entirely to Chaplin's career, including outtakes to CITY LIGHTS as well as scenes involving Virginia Cherrill's temporary replacement, Georgia Hale, Chaplin's co-star in THE GOLD RUSH. (****)

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for City Lights (1931)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Made in California? appnzllr-1
Prohibition Era? xacdann
Just saw it for the 2nd time..... It's now in my top 20 favourite films! TwiZone
Is the ending the best in film history? laffalott1
Many dialogue cards are in this one? Easy to understand without reading? Arturo_Lugo
Your Top ten favorite silent films SakowskyBrothers
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