HomeEntertainmentVideo: behind the scenes with Charlie Chaplin on City Lights

Video: behind the scenes with Charlie Chaplin on City Lights

The Criterion Collection has shared this very special clip with Silent London to mark the release of Chaplin’s City Lights on Blu-ray in the UK. It is presented courtesy of MK2.

In this footage we see Chaplin out of costume rehearsing one of the most graceful bits of comic business in the film, as the Tramp steps back to admire a statue in a department store window – with perilous results.

It’s a fascinating insight into the working processes of this famously perfectionist filmmaker, during what was very possibly his most painstaking, and certainly most protracted, shoot. It’s just one of the glimpses backstage offered on the new Blu-ray edition of the film.

Courtesy of MK2

City Lights is released on Criterion Collection Blu-ray on Monday, 12 December. You can order it here, and read more about the disc extras below.


  • New digital restoration from a 4K 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, 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
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Gary Giddins and a 1966 interview with Chaplin
  • City Lights was recently voted the 36th Greatest Film of All Time.
  • Silent London will always be free to all readers. If you enjoy checking in with the site, including reports from silent film festivals, features and reviews, please consider shouting me a coffee on my Ko-Fi page.

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