City Lights (1931) is considered to be one of the best films that Charlie Chaplin acted and directed. Chaplin was the producer, director, editor and was the one responsible for the screenplay and music. The movie took two years to finish and used one and a half million dollars. As many of his movies this too was a silent film and combined both a comedy and romance. The film is subtitled "A Comedy Romance in Pantomime" and uses body language, and sound tracks. This was an era in which talking films were beginning to gain popularity which may be the reason that the movie never got an academy award.
The main characters in the film are Tramp (Charlie Chaplin), a beautiful and blind girl (Virginia Cherrill) and a depressed millionaire (Harry Myers). One of the themes of the movie is the struggles of the poor working class and their moral superiority. Tramp and the blind girl and her grandmother represent well the poor workers and show their struggles. They represented the working class in America at the time. Tramp risks his life to make sure that the blind and poor girl can pay her operation expenses. He goes to jail and fights a boxing match to get money for her. The millionaire tries to commit suicide and Tramp helps him although they both fall in the water. The millionaire spends his nights drinking with his friend Tramp and when he gets sober he does not recognize him (Filmsite). When Tramp learns that the flower girl do not have food in their home, he is employed as a street cleaner and is able to provide food for her and her grandmother. The actions of Tramp clearly show that the poor workers show morally superiority when compared to rich.
The plight of the poor is also addressed in the film. At the beginning of the film there is a ceremony of unveiling the statue of Peace and Prosperity by the elite of the city. Tramp is found sleeping on the arms of Prosperity and it seems that he had slept there the whole night. The crowd is angry and orders him to leave. Tramp finds it difficult to get a job and the one he gets he is fired. The flower girl and grandmother are unable to earn money for rent and for the operation to treat her blindness (Filmsite). These scenes clearly bring out this theme and are creatively made and made interesting by use of comedy.
The sound effects are fitting to the film and are used well. The music used is appropriate and appeals to emotions. The sounds enrich to the comedy in the film. One such is the quacking sound substituted for the mayors voice in the unveiling of the statue. The twists in the film make it captivating. During the boxing match boxer with whom they had agreed to share money by half is wanted by the police and Tramp has to face a new and stronger opponent. He is beaten and is seen wondering in the streets again.
It takes a lot of effort to get the full story by watching the film since there is no dialogue. The movie could have been more interesting if the characters did talk. The audience is left decode what the characters are saying and their actions mean and this may lead to multiple interpretations. Some of the scenes in the films are exaggerated through repetitions which make the actions unrealistic. In the night adventure scene, the millionaire and Tramp fall in the water for several times which makes the scene boring. In afternoon stroll scene, Tramp repeatedly misses the falling in a freight elevator.
The City Lights is successful in presenting its themes and the characters fit the roles that they were assigned. The creativity in the movie is admirable as the film is able to appeal to emotions with no talking involved. The ability to merge comedy, romance in a silent film makes one of the greatest films in American history.
A response to the painting of Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa is valued over one billion dollars and remains one of the influential picture by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. The painting is a portrait and is an oil painting made on a poplar wood panel. The painting is of Lisa Gherardini the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The painting is of a Lisa Gherardini sitting upright in a chair. Her arms are crossed and they rest on an armchair. Her face and chest are slightly turned towards the viewer. The background is of the painting is a landscape that has an aerial perspective. The landscape has no clear ending and appears bluish with mountains and mist.
The colors of the painting are well chosen and create a natural effect for the painting. The aerial background with bluish aquatic makes the painting more beautiful. The woman is painted well with an enigmatic smile which makes her captivating to look at. Her hands resting on the armchair and crossed and empty are reflected in the relaxed face. The picture lacks eye brows and eye lashes which would have made it more nature and beautiful. The picture is also not signed which may lead to questioning of its authenticity. The picture is a mystery especially due to the elusive smile. To date it remains one of the most beautiful painting from the renaissance and the most valued one.
Filmsite. 2016. 20 4 2016 <http://www.filmsite.org/city.html>.
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