Question:

Political and Artistic impacts of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights

by Guest7037  |  earlier

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Hello. I would like to know the artistic and political impacts and influences of Charlie Chaplin City Lights in the silent era. Do you have any information regarding that? Someone please share your knowledge here.

 Tags: Artistic, Chaplins, Charlie, City, impacts, lights, Political

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  1. Guest23284964

    City Lights had little artistic impact during the silent era because it was made at the time when the industry and art was converting to sound. The era was over by then.

    In his autobiography, Charlie Chaplin recalled Joe Schenck telling him, “They're here to stay, I'm afraid”, Charlie. Schenck also suggested that only Chaplin could pull off a successful silent picture at a time when no one else was making them anymore. Chaplin was not comforted because he did not want to be the only adherent of the art of silent pictures.

    Nevertheless, it was made as a silent, and was considered an excellent but old-fashioned film at the time it was released. Chaplin relished the opportunity to write a score for the film, and even worked one sound sequence into the picture where he sings a little song. He could not figure out how to make his tramp character talk, and so there was no audible dialogue.

    Years later, in his film Limelight, there is a funny sketch he plays with Clair Bloom. He is a very similar tramp, and has excellent, funny dialogue with her in a manner that would have befitted his original tramp character, but this was not a voice he had worked out at the time he made City Lights, or his final silent film a few years later, Modern Times.

    Chaplin also found that there were few actors by that time who were adept at pantomime, since the film industry had converted to sound. The art was quickly forgotten, and he had great difficulty teaching those actors he used to communicate with face, gesture, and body language. None were more difficult than Virginia Cherril, the inexperienced actress he hired to play the female lead. He had to make dozens of takes of each scene with her, and in some cases, hundreds until he got one that was correctly performed. At one point, he even fired her, and tried to replace her with another actress, but was reluctantly forced to bring her back because of her contract and the sheer cost of remaking the film with another actress.

    Chaplin's personal political trouble did not rear its ugly head until the 1940s after the World War. City Lights has survived the test of time, and is one of the finest silent films ever made by a great artist at the end of the silent era when he was a master of the art and form, and the lone proponent of pantomime.

    I recommend reading Chaplin's recollections on the making of the film in his autobiography, My Autobiography (Simon and Schuster 1964).
     

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