AFI 100 Progress: City Lights
“Yes, I can see now.”
I’ve always admired Charlie Chaplin. I love his ingenuity in setting up his gags and the way he executes them with his athleticism and impeccable timing. This film, made as a silent after the rest of the industry already converted to sound, is widely considered to be his masterpiece. It’s a romantic comedy, in a time when there presumably wasn’t one released every other week, about a poor little tramp trying to find enough money to cure his crush’s blindness and save her from eviction. I didn’t think it was as funny as Modern Times and its famous ending didn’t pull on my heartstrings as much as the monologue in The Great Dictator. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful piece of work. I dare anyone who doesn’t think they could enjoy a silent film to give any of Chaplin’s movies a shot.