Cinema: Hardy Perennial

City Lights (United Artists) was Charlie Chaplin's first movie of the sound-film era. Released in 1931, three years after the birth of the talkies, and billed as a comedy romance "in pantomime," it all but ignored sound. The film was Chaplin's stubborn, inspired rebuke to a screen which, in learning how to talk, seemed to have forgotten how to do anything else.

Re-issued after 19 more years of talking pictures, City Lights is more impressive than ever.* It is immensely funny, at times touching, and its storytelling is so eloquently visual that it makes most sound movies seem like the stunted products...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!