Part of The 100 Greatest Movies I’ve Ever Seen list.
dir. and wri. Charlie Chaplin (1931) cin. Rollie Totheroh, Gordon Pollock, and Mark Marklatt with Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers
In 100 words: Is there any other film character as memorable or as iconic as “The Tramp”? This brilliant film finds Chaplin combining the best of his filmography for one perfect film: the tear-inducing pathos of The Kid, the political resonances of Modern Times, and the buddy comedy pratfalls and adorable romance of Gold Rush. Lights stands out for its playful and imaginative use of sound and score and its deft control of tone, despite the jokes about suicide and alcoholism. Chaplin’s inimitably balletic grace and ace comedic timing shines through while the unexpected sensitivity of that ending will bring you to tears.
Other Movies for Context: Charlie Chaplin is one of the greatest and most important directors of cinema. The three films cited above are all must-sees. Additionally, I’ve seen his film, The Great Dictator (1942), which is his rebuke of Hitler in the midst of World War II.