City Lights

City Lights ★★★★★

My fourth Chaplin in a year. I think I like the guy. His tramp character is one of the all time greats and here he gets to play rich, drunk, and in love. All three are great modes for the tramp to play in. The (pretending to be) rich tramp is a delight, full of pomposity and with an even springier step than normal, he walks around like he owns the place. Drunk tramp is maybe the best thing ever. Take Chaplin's physicality and amp it up to 11 and you've got comedic brilliance. Is there anything better than him walking across a slippery dance floor? Well, maybe his later dance on that same floor equals it. Just hilarious. And finally, the love bird tramp. It's a mode he's played before and after this film, but this is the pinnacle of its expression so far. The last scene is one of the most tender and sweet scenes I've seen in years, and it's played in a wonderfully subtle way by both Chaplin and his romantic interest, Virginia Cherrill. A touch, a look, and we know all we need to know. This movie is maybe not as funny as Modern Times, and it might not be quite as poignant on a grand scale as The Great Dictator, but it combines both elements into a stew of delicate, charming romance.