“City Lights” is about a tramp who falls in love with a blind woman. Now, being that this is a romantic comedy, there is more to the story than that. The circumstances under which the tramp meets the woman are different and cause a bit of confusion between the two. The woman believes the tramp to be rich when he is actually the exact opposite. At his “home” (a bench somewhere in the city), he finds a man who is about to commit suicide. The tramp talks the man out of ending his life and in return, the man tells the tramp that they are friends for life. The man takes the tramp home and supplies him with money and a car which furthers the tramp’s facade of being rich to the blind woman. The tramp goes to his visit his “friend,” but the man is only loyal and friendly when he is drunk.
The tramp, no longer being supplied with money, gets a job as a street sweeper but is soon fired for being late too many times. When the tramp is visiting the blind woman (the reason he was late to work), he discovers a surgery that she could undergo to correct her eyesight. He also happens to discover that the woman must pay her rent or she and her grandmother will be evicted. The tramp agrees to pay for both. Out of a job and in need of money, the tramp comes upon a man who offers him a deal he can’t pass up: the two are to fix a boxing match with each other and split the winnings fifty-fifty. The tramp agrees and when he shows up to the boxing match he is freaked out enough as it is. Then, the other man receives a telegram which states that the police are in search of him and he must leave town immediately. The man leaves and another man is put in his place. The tramp tries to be friendly to the other man but it doesn’t work to his advantage. The tramp loses the boxing match and receives no money for his efforts.
On his way “home,” the tramp comes across his drunken “friend,” who takes him home and treats him well. His “friend” gives him one-thousand dollars with which to pay for the blind woman’s rent and optical surgery. What the two men don’t know is that there are two thieves in the man’s home. One of the thieves comes up behind the tramp’s “friend” and knocks him out. The tramp calls the police and they come to the rescue but, judging by his clothing, mistake the tramp to be the thief. The tramp’s “friend” comes to and, now sober, claims that he doesn’t know the tramp and accuses him of stealing. The tramp flees and gives the money to the blind woman, telling her she can now get her surgery and pay her rent. As the tramp is walking down the street, he is taken by the police and thrown in jail.
A few months later the tramp gets out of jail. As he walks down the street, he discover that the once blind woman has opened a flower shop of her own. Meanwhile, the woman is hopeful in finding her love, he who paid for her rent and surgery (which obviously worked out well because she is now primping herself in a mirror). The tramp eventually walks into the flower shop and tells the woman that he is the one who paid for her rent and surgery. The woman takes his hand and holds it near her heart. The tramp is obviously very dear to the woman. It seems he’s even more dear to her now that she knows he wasn’t a rich man and actually had to work to get her that money.
I will admit, before watching the film I was a bit skeptical. Seeing as how watching the film was necessary, I pushed my skepticism aside. However, three minutes into the film I was laughing like crazy! I know many people disregard the film because it is a silent, black-and-white film from the 1930s, but once you look past all of that, it is a really great film. In fact, I couldn’t imagine the film if it had talking and was in color being as great as it is. I feel that Charlie Chaplin’s ability to make someone laugh without saying a word is absolutely amazing. It’s all in the timing, reactions, and facial expressions. It’s a whole lot easier to say something funny than it is to do something funny. I also really liked the moral of the story. The film tells you that you can love someone for who they are and not what they look like; something that I feel a lot of people don’t really understand (at least not at my age). It also shows the great lengths people will go through for the ones they love. It’s a beautiful storyline with a lot of comedy. I thought the film was great and I would more than willingly watch it again!