680 City Lights

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Jeff
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm
Location: Denver, CO

680 City Lights

#1 Post by Jeff » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:08 pm

City Lights

Image

The most cherished film by Charlie Chaplin is also his ultimate Little Tramp chronicle. The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dramatic poignancy, with this silent tale of a lovable vagrant falling for a young blind woman who sells flowers on the street (a magical Virginia Cherrill) and mistakes him for a millionaire. Though this Depression-era smash was made after the advent of sound, Chaplin remained steadfast in his love for the expressive beauty of the pre-talkie form. The result was the epitome of his art and the crowning achievement of silent comedy.

Disc Features

- New, restored 4K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- New audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
- Chaplin Today: “City Lights,” a 2003 documentary on the film’s production, featuring Aardman Animations cofounder Peter Lord
- Chaplin Studios: Creative Freedom by Design, a new interview program featuring visual effects expert Craig Barron
- Archival footage from the production of City Lights, including film from the set, with audio commentary by Chaplin historian Hooman Mehran; a costume test; a rehearsal; and a complete scene not used in the film
- Excerpt from Chaplin’s short film The Champion (1915), along with footage of the director with boxing stars at Chaplin Studios in 1918
- Trailers
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Gary Giddins and a 1966 interview with Chaplin

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: 680 City Lights

#2 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:54 pm

Glad to see they put together another killer package for this one, after skimping a bit on Verdoux- the MK2 one was already pretty good, but a commentary and a new interview (program?) puts it back on par with The Gold Rush and Modern Times.

User avatar
andyli
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:46 pm

Re: 680 City Lights

#3 Post by andyli » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:11 pm

And a 4K scan, no less.

User avatar
movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: 680 City Lights

#4 Post by movielocke » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:32 am

I'm ecstatic for this release! Chaplins finest film and a superb slate of extras it appears. Sad that it got a bitovershadowed today.

Jonathan S
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
Location: Somerset, England

Re: 680 City Lights

#5 Post by Jonathan S » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:11 am

It looks like this won't have Carl Davis' re-recording of the score which I value (as an option of course) on the old Image release. But - assuming Criterion wanted it - I expect it has been blocked by the Chaplin Estate (it wasn't on the M2K DVD either).

kieslowski
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 12:26 pm
Location: Somewhere in England

Re: 680 City Lights

#6 Post by kieslowski » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:00 am

I was just coming here to post the same thing. It's such a shame as the Davis stereo recording really sounds great and would have been a fantastic addition to the disc. Agreed that the Estate probably blocked it but it's a real pity as I'd been crossing my fingers for so long that they'd add this, I now have arthritis.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 680 City Lights

#7 Post by MichaelB » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:11 am

The Peter Lord documentary is the one on the MK2 release from a decade ago - and although I raised eyebrows at first, he turned out to be an ideal presenter. As an animator, he has an innate understanding of Chaplin's mastery of movement and timing, and exploits this to the full.

artfilmfan
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:11 pm

Re: 680 City Lights

#8 Post by artfilmfan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:04 pm

"The most cherished film by Charlie Chaplin"? I concur! Can' wait to get this one!

User avatar
Lowry_Sam
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:35 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: 680 City Lights

#9 Post by Lowry_Sam » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:46 pm

kieslowski wrote:I was just coming here to post the same thing. It's such a shame as the Davis stereo recording really sounds great and would have been a fantastic addition to the disc. Agreed that the Estate probably blocked it but it's a real pity as I'd been crossing my fingers for so long that they'd add this, I now have arthritis.
I say we put together a list of all the extra footage/extended cuts/alternative soundtracks/shorts/etc. that have been left off the original releases & petition Criterion to do a Chaplin career-spanning box that looks as good as the Zatoichi box (ie. ditching all artwork on the single releases), perhaps the estate won't find a limited collector's release to be objectionable.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 680 City Lights

#10 Post by MichaelB » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:35 am

kieslowski wrote:I was just coming here to post the same thing. It's such a shame as the Davis stereo recording really sounds great and would have been a fantastic addition to the disc. Agreed that the Estate probably blocked it but it's a real pity as I'd been crossing my fingers for so long that they'd add this, I now have arthritis.
A theory I've come across elsewhere is that the Davis score is incompatible with the playback speed of Criterion's HD master.

Jonathan S
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
Location: Somerset, England

Re: 680 City Lights

#11 Post by Jonathan S » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:03 am

I've also read that theory (propounded secondhand) and am totally baffled by it. City Lights is technically a sound film so there's only one legitimate speed for it. Davis' track is simply a re-recording of Chaplin's original, incorporating its sound effects (e.g. the distorted speeches in the opening scene), and must retain the same tempi and synchronisation, as it does on the old Image DVD, where either track can be selected for the same visual element. It's possible to switch between the two on the fly.

If the only recording that exists is that 1989 PCM stereo track, maybe it's now perceived as too technically archaic to be a modern sound alternative, but of course the recording quality is still streets ahead of the original. If, for some bizarre reason, there does exist a better recording at a slower speed, surely it would be easy to digitally adjust it, as Davis himself did for Criterion's Safety Last.

User avatar
FrauBlucher
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village

Re: 680 City Lights

#12 Post by FrauBlucher » Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:07 pm


User avatar
Superswede11
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:34 pm
Location: Tativille, IA

Re: 680 City Lights

#13 Post by Superswede11 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:43 pm

Is everyone else absolutely transfixed by the footage of Chaplin directing and boxing? Even out of character he seems to have a very physical presence. It's as if he was made for silent films. And his intense perfectionism is a sight to behold. Now we hear about Wes Anderson or David Fincher or Stanley Kubrick being overly meticulous but they've got nothing on Chaplin's 342 takes.

jojo
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:47 pm

Re: 680 City Lights

#14 Post by jojo » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:26 pm

Picked up the BD and I have to say I'm a bit surprised at how ever-so-slightly cynical Gary Giddins' reading of the film feels. I mean, the social and class subtext is definitely there, but it's definitely subservient to the main goal of the film being first and foremost a fairy tale. And going online and looking up reactions on the ending again,
SpoilerShow
I can't believe how so many people today seem to still miss or ignore the part where the girl brings the Tramp's hand closer to her chest, obviously accepting him. It doesn't strike me as ambiguous an ending as some critics have made it out to be. Sure, you can extrapolate what happens to these two months and years after the ending, but I just don't see how anyone can view the ending as anything but a fairy tale happy ending at that very moment.
I suppose, though, to reduce it down to an either/or question would diminish the power of the ending, so the fact that you could read it many ways is a part of its mystique and I wouldn't want to be reductionist here.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: 680 City Lights

#15 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:04 pm

Really insightful piece on the use of sound and, crucially, silence in the movie. Notices things I haven't seen pointed out before.

Post Reply