CITY LIGHTS at the Paramount: The Little Tramp Meets the Orchestra

February 18, 2022

By Nancy Friedman

Its running time is just 87 minutes. It has only three main characters. Its filming locations were confined mostly to downtown Los Angeles and studio soundstages. 

But in its way Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 film City Lights qualifies as an epic—and so does the story behind the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s one-night-only presentation of this silent masterpiece, accompanied by the Oakland Symphony under the direction of Timothy Brock, at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on Saturday, February 19. 

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THE UNKNOWN CHAPLIN, a Turkish CITY LIGHTS Remake(!) and more surprises

Possibly the best documentary about Chaplin is The Unknown Chaplin. In three parts you can watch here it captures the cinematic genius as he was never meant to be seen. Using countless reels of rushes, outtakes, and abandoned films Chaplin had wanted destroyed, film archivists Kevin Brownlow and David Gill have meticulously crafted an essential and fascinating documentary homage to the Little Tramp who will no doubt keep us laughing until the last flickering frame.

We suggest that you watch The Unknown Chaplin after you see City Lights.

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Watch CITY LIGHTS Shine: A Gallery of Art

Curated by Gary Meyer

Charles Chaplin might be the most recognizable person in the world. His iconic Little Tramp image can be found everywhere. I am guessing that more books have been written about him than any movie star.

One of the many beauties of his work is that they communicate with people who speak any language.

And on Saturday, February 19, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents Chaplin’s 1931 masterpiece, CITY LIGHTS accompanied by the Oakland Symphony under the direction of Timothy Brock, at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre. This is a must see experience for all ages.

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