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City Lights 1931 - Movie Review

Essay by   •  August 5, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  694 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,524 Views

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City Lights the movie 1931, gave the viewer a clear idea about the societal issues in America after the Big Depression. The movie established from the beginning two types of people, the rich and the poor. the movie showed us how the rich both men and women spent their time and money in drinking, and partying. Whereas for the poor, their struggle was to find a shelter and food. Although it is a comedy movie, the cruelty of the rich, and the kindness of the poor in helping others was easily noticed.

It was until 1933 the Legion of Decency code was enforced in movies to prevent nudity and most sexual activities in the movies, however City Lights was far away from that, and the movie offered humor and clean entertainment to the viewers.

I believe the movie's main message at that time was not to remind people of their social differences and their issues (unemployment, poverty, no assistances for the elders or the disables), but actually to help calm people's troubles while watching the movie, to reinforce some of the older values, and to give hope to the viewers of that time. .

City Lights most prominently reflects the relationship between the wealthy and the poor during the Depression, sheds some light on the condition of the contemporaneous economic--and specifically employment--market, and may indicate the acceptable levels of affection to be shown in public at that time.

In the opening scene, wherein the portly philanthropist in the Mickey Mouse gloves unveils a statue of his own commission, the film seems to be showing that the wealthy have been insulated from the economic crisis that has affected the vast majority of Americans. This level of separation from the hardships faced by workers seems to have lead to a similar level of cognitive disconnection from it, which is spoken to by the statue's title, "Peace and Prosperity". The relationship between the intermittently inebriated millionaire and Chaplin's protagonist, the Tramp, also sheds some light on the relationship between the wealthy and the poor. While a more critical critique might suggest that their on-again-off-again friendship "for life" is a metaphor for the capitalist class' patronage of the working class when it becomes convenient for the capitalist, I see it more as symbolic of the shared values between the two classes even though an intoxicant-induced enervation of inhibitions seems to be required to bring it to the fore. There are also parallels between the police and the millionaire's butlers in their relationships and interactions with the Tramp. While the more radical interpretation is apparent in this case, it is more likely that this is representative of the employed men's view of the idle poor in the light of the idle rich. The pompous philanthropist, falling-down drunken millionaire,



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