June 27, 2016

Under the City Lights

Pack a picnic in the Park and enjoy a movie under the Chicago skyline. The Grant Park Orchestra, led by guest conductor Andrés Franco, will perform a live orchestral screening of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights (1931) at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Wednesday, July 6 at 8 PM.

City Lights, a simple story about a hapless Tramp (Chaplin) who falls in love with a blind girl (Cherrill) that mistakes him for a wealthy Duke, was released during a period when sound was first being introduced in cinema. Chaplin resisted including dialogue in his films for several years, believing that music created an emotional depth that dialogue could not capture.

Chaplin wrote in his autobiography, published in 1964, “One happy thing about sound was that I could control the music, so I composed my own. I tried to compose elegant and romantic music to frame my comedies, for elegant music gave my comedies an emotional dimension.”

While Chaplin grew up heavily influenced by music—his mother was a singer and he had taught himself to play the violin, cello, organ, and piano at a young age—could not actually put notes to paper. He worked closely with his circle of musician friends and acquaintances to translate his musical voice into a film score. Of the score for City Lights, he said, “I really didn’t write it down, I la-laed and Arthur Johnson wrote it down.”

City Lights has a screening time of 86 minutes and has come to be regarded among Chaplin’s finest work.

Don’t let the warm summer weather pass you by. Order a One Night Membership Pass to sit in our reserved seating section, or enjoy the movie on the Lawn for free!