One of the most inspiring moments in the films of Charlie Chaplin is the ending of City Lights. Released in 1931, Chaplin was by this time well beyond fame and fortune as a dominating force in Hollywood and assured of superhero status -- a living, breathing icon -- not just as the Tramp, but also as writer, director, producer, composer, and the most famous human being in the world. Now, daring to make a silent film in the sound era, City Lights would take him even higher.
It's the story of how the Tramp befriends a poor blind woman, the Girl, and, as he leads her to believe he's a well-off man about town, he entangles himself in a series of intricately choreographed escapades that can only be called Chaplinesque. Through it all he manages to steal enough money for the operation to cure her, and when arrested, proudly goes off to jail. The Girl knows nothing of this, of course. Months later, when she is no longer blind and working in a successful flower shop, the Tramp has been released and is still, well, a tramp. They accidentally meet. The Girl naturally expects her hero to be tall, rich, and handsome. When she sees short, poor, and dirty, the disappointment in her benefactor is palpable.
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