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gagman66

Chaplin's CITY LIGHTS Tonight on THE ESSENTIALS at last!

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*"Charles Chaplin's Masterpiece CITY LIGHTS in Prime-time on the ESSENTIALS tonight is long since overdue. In my view, this should have been the first Silent film ever chosen for the program in 2003 or 2004 when the Essentials first begun. It wasn't that honor was bestowed on Buster Keaton's STEAMBOAT BILL JUNIOR. Anyone who dares to doubt the greatness of Chaplin, simply must see this film. It is currently out of print on DVD, and this will be a more recent transfer anyway. I first saw CITY LIGHTS in 1978 when I was 12 years old. It was screened at the Cinema Arts Guild, and I will never forget that experience. Everyone wept in the final scene. One of the most moving and bitter-sweet sequences in all movie history.*

 

*I still consider this movie among probably the top 10 motion pictures ever produced. It is indeed the film that solidified my life long love affair with the Silent movie genre. I was already a Silents fan, having seen a number of Tom Mix and William S. Hart Westerns. As well as a few Two-reelers with Chaplin, Lloyd and Keaton. But CITY LIGHTS made a lasting impression upon me that I would never forget. It is the funniest and saddest of movie comedies, rolled into one. A profoundly human story of Love and self-sacrifice. In many ways, no film is any more Essential perhaps than this one. I'm very anxious to hear what Robert Osborne and Alec Baldwin have to say before and after the moving, in their introductions and closing comments. Chaplin begin production of CITY LIGHTS in late 1928. However, it wasn't until 1931 that He was satisfied to the point where He was ready to release the picture. By now, Silent films at least in America, but for the smallest back words theater were no longer being distributed. So CITY LIGHTS was considered a colossal gamble.Chaplin had faith in the power of Pantomime, and his faith was rewarded. CITY LIGHTS became one of his most beloved films. Frequently described as his very best work. The crowning achievement of his epic career.*

 

*In my opinion, the Academy snubbing Chaplin for an Oscar nomination is inexcusable. It's hard to believe that any film was more worthy than CITY LIGHTS of Best Picture in 1931. Leading Lady Virginia Cherrill, soon to be Mrs. Cary Grant, is arrestingly beautiful. She was an inexperienced actress and Chaplin never felt that He was getting the best out of her, but in my opinion Her performance is quite wonderful. It's hard to envision anyone else in the roll. For people who have never seen a Silent film, and have and have trepidations about them, CITY LIGHTS has the power to spark anyone's interest in the medium. In 1950, when his popularity was at an all-time low. Chaplin re-released CITY LIGHTS, and the surprising success it enjoyed the second time around did much to bring Chaplin to the attention of a whole new generation of film files during the 50's and 60's. Life Magazine at the time nearly 20's years after the fact, proclaimed CITY LIGHTS as the best motion picture of the year."*

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gagman, I love Charlie Chaplin, and *City Lights* is one of my all-time favourite movies. I'm so looking forward to seeing it tonight.

 

One question: that whole post about it - didn't you , gagman, write it yourself? If so, why did you put quotation marks around it? If you didn't write it, who did? Do you have a link to an article about it, were you quoting from such an article? Or is that clearly passionate and sincere little essay about the film all yours' ? ( But the, why the quotation marks? )

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A beautiful and poetic work of art. It touches me as few films have. There are moments that don't play all that well. But when this film hits its mark, it's a bullseye. The final scene is the most moving piece of cinema I've ever seen.

 

Simply do not miss this one!

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It seems Osborne and Baldwin agree with you and call this Chaplin's best. It's definitely a wonderful film although when it comes to Chaplin I think (of what I have seen) I am partial to The Kid and Modern Times.

 

I highly expect Criterion to release City Lights on DVD soon. Who knows it might even be their next Chaplin announcement. They seem to release a film of his a year.

 

edit: I also forgot to mention that City Lights WAS my first silent film. I didn't completely fall in love with silent films immediatly (it took a few more films) but this film was the start for me.

 

Edited by: Kinokima on Jul 2, 2011 8:19 PM

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I first saw CITY LIGHTS around 1980 and thought it was terrific. It wasn't, however, until I saw it in 35mm at UCLA with a live orchestra performing the Chaplin score that it really hit home just how marvelous this film really is. This film ranks in the top five of my favorite movies. It also shows just how far the art of silent film making had come. There are few talkies from 1931 that have the fluid movement of camera, the steady pace and pictoral grace of CITY LIGHTS.

 

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Yikes comparing Chaplin to Carrey & Stiller....

 

I usually am okay with Baldwin's comments but that was just ridiculous.

 

 

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Usually I'm the type that can brush things off and say that everyone has a right to an opinion. In this case all that I can say in his defense is that it must be an uninformed opinion. We know they aren't really watching the film, maybe he never saw a Chaplin film.

 

But if he has seen Stiller and Carey, how can he compare the two of them?

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Well, overall I can't help but be a little disappointed in both their comments. Not one word uttered about Chaplin's brillant original musical score. Than suddenly there are these tacked on credits mentioning the 1988 re-arrangement, orchestration and recording of Chaplin's score by Carl Davis. Yet, it was the vintage 1931 track that was playing during the broadcast?

 

Comparing anyone today to Chaplin, Buster Keaton, or Harold Lloyd is absurd. No one like them now, and there never will be again.

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Now I know why as a child I watched Chaplin. and it was so great to sit and watch his acting, his expressions and it was so touching.. one thing I was so relaxed watching the movie it was great as always to see Chaplin..

I agree to compare him with Jim Carrey and Stillier no way..!!!

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I'm like you clore, in thinking everyone is entitled to an opinion. Poster "lowell" said in his thread about this:

>I wanted to indicate great approval to Robert Osborne's response when Alec Baldwin made the loose and somewhat ludicrous comparison of Ben Stiller and Jim Carey to Charlie Chaplin.

 

I thought Robert Osborne did a great job explaining WHY Alec Baldwin's statement just doesn't wash. He sited Stiller's often "mean spirited" approach and Carey's lack of "sweetness" that Chaplin brought to his roles. It's often that sweetness that will turn modern jaded viewers off too.

 

I'd like to ADD that Chaplin wasn't just an actor playing a part like most comedians in film these days. Chaplin directed every performance, precisely set up the shots for the camera, wrote incredible scores as well as the script, edited, he did EVERYTHING.

 

I'm so glad Alec made that comparison because most people will, their references are modern. I'm very glad Robert jumped in and intelligently and respectfully brought up there ARE no comparisons to Chaplin.

 

A great Essentials segment.

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When you look at Hollywood today there is little real great comedy being done, so in that sense these are the only two names he could probably pull out of a hat.

 

I think the funniest things today are now CGI created, be it Bolt or other movies like that. Real comedy is a lost art in Hollywood.

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*Yikes comparing Chaplin to Carrey & Stiller....* - Kinokima

 

The expression on Osborne's face upon hearing that comment was priceless.

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That's actually one of the things I like about Alec and Robert O's co-hosting of *The Essentials*. They enjoy talking about films together and they aren't afraid to disagree with one another. In previous seasons of *Essentials* before Baldwin that was very rare.

 

With Baldwin as co-host, it has been more prevalent and I enjoy that. I like when they disagree about a movie from time to time as it helps remind us that not everyone sees a film in the same way.

 

I hope whoever co-hosts next season with Robert O continues this practice.

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I wonder if this comment will come back to haunt Baldwin in his senatorial campaign. It will certainly hurt him with the TCM crowd.

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It did serve to prove that while they may not be watching the film, they are doing these things unscripted. I have to admit, I'd have responded by saying something that starts with "What the" and then demanded another take just so the other guy wouldn't diminish all of the points he's earned to date.

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At the risk of outraging the entire membership here, I 'd like to make one tiny observation. I'm thinking that Baldwin merely meant that there are very few physical comedians around these days, and he was trying to think of one or two who still do slapstick, pratfalls, and other usually carefully choreographed actions associated with that kind of humour. So those two were kind of logical choices in terms of that.

Now don't go tying your thongs in a knot, everybody...I adore Chaplin and agree that there's no one even remotely like him now. And I suspect Baldwin doesnt' think there is either, he was just trying to think of actors working today who still practise that physical comedy tradition. As someone suggested, it must have been unscripted or he probably would have chosen his words more carefully.

Anyway, I'm no big fan of either Ben Stiller or Jim Carey (although Carey's Canadian ! ]:) )

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> At the risk of outraging the entire membership here

 

Not me, MsW, I'm not outraged at what you wrote and do agree with your point of view. I had a similar thought after listening to Alec and Robert O at the end of *City Lights*. I half-expected Baldwin to name Robert Downey, Jr but wasn't surprised when he named both Carey and Stiller. I give Robert O major props for pointing out to Baldwin not only the fallacy in his thinking but that the majority of Stiller's comedy revolves around being mean-spirited.

 

I really enjoyed the wrap-up and it gave Robert O the opportunity to explain to the entire viewing audience (not just us die-hard film buffs) why Chaplin was so special.

 

Isn't that what *The Essentials* is all about?

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lzcutter wrote:

 

"...I really enjoyed the wrap-up and it gave Robert O the opportunity to explain to the entire viewing audience (not just us die-hard film buffs) why Chaplin was so special.

 

Isn't that what *The Essentials *is all about?"

 

It is indeed. :)

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