City Lights (1931) + Timothy Brock and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

City Lights
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Writer: Charlie Chaplin
Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Harry Myers, Hank Mann
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: Timothy Brock, played by the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

A Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) falls deeply in love with a blind Flower Seller (Virginia Cherrill), so much so that he even spends his last money to buy a flower off of her. The girl mistakes him for a rich man though, which at first seems irrelevant. But when the Tramp meets the Millionaire (Harry Myers) – by keeping him from committing suicide – he is rewarded for it, though not always reliably, and starts to make the girl’s life easier whereever he can by courting her as a rich man.

City Lights is a wonderful film – in equal parts funny and touching. And Brock’s music is beautiful and really sets the mood for the entire thing.

Sometimes I doubt that the stars from such a long time ago really are all they crack up to be. I mean, is it really possible  for them to be as fantastic as their reputation? And then along comes Charlie Chaplin and completely proves everything people say about him right. He is not only a wonderful actor with an amazing presence, but also an excellent director and writer.

City Lights had me laughing one minute and crying the next. And that ending is beautiful. It breaks your heart with one hand, while putting it together again with the other. I also loved the famous boxing scene – Chaplin must have been one hell of a dancer. And the scene in the club with the millionaire! I completely and entirely adored this film.

And Brock’s music is just really great, too. As with the music he wrote for the Buster Keaton films, it never pushes itself to the foreground or gets capricious. It knows what its there for – and that’s to be the perfect supporting actor for the movie that’s playing – and to set the mood for it. And it does so admirably.

In short, it was pretty much a perfect evening. Now I only need to find a time turner so that I can finally watch all the films that I want to see – a list that has just been extended by the entire Charlie Chaplin filmography.

Summarising: I can only recommend this one.

2 thoughts on “City Lights (1931) + Timothy Brock and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

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