City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
This was my first Chaplin and was, unfortunately, disappointing in a lot of ways. I like slapstick, I like falling down, but most of the gags left me cold. I can appreciate them as significant points along the physical comedy continuum, but I like my pratfalls with more absurdity: Chris Farley as Matt Foley falling through the coffee table, for example, or Kramer running down the sidewalk with pockets full of change. Most of these gags, like the midnight water debacle, were simply about him sitting or standing in the wrong spot. The worst of the gags was the whistle bit, which was inevitable from the the moment the girl used it herself, and went on too long, though I appreciated the end of it, when the dogs came in.
Thatís said, I loved the entire boxing sequence. The choreography of the in-ring stuff was marvellous, especially the bell rope section, and all the locker room sequence was perfectly timed. The only part of ďShrekĒ thatís stuck with me is the guard punching the hand mirror as a warning, and I got similar vibes from all the warnings the Tramp gets while waiting for his bout.
I donít know Chaplinís intended themes regarding the Trampís relationship with the girl, whether the viewer is meant to sympathise with him when it appears she doesnít know him, but I looking at it from 2019 I couldnít help but feel icked out by his sadness at having been ďforgottenĒ despite having paid for so many things. The vibe I always got from talk surrounding the movie was one of love lost, but the idea of love not being purchasable, something he shouldíve learned from the rich man who has everything but lost his love, is a more crucial takeaway.
I have "A Matter Of Life and Death" at home, too. Hopefully that one works better for me.