The two 1930’s movies I am going to compare here are: City Lights (1931) directed by Charlie Chaplin and Trouble in Paradise (1932) directed by Ernst Lubitsch. City Lights is about a hapless Tramp who falls in love with a blind flower girl on the streets while Trouble in Paradise is about a thief and a lady pickpocket who together combine efforts and expertise in crime to swindle one beautiful perfume company owner of her money and resources. The two movie exhibit differences regarding the dialogue and the setting and the way characters in both movies behave to the specific themes of the movies
Both City Lights (1931) and Trouble in Paradise (1932) are Pre-Code romantic comedy films that involve two love stories in the most unlikely of circumstances. While City Lights involves a tramp falling in love with a blind flower girl that he meets on the streets, Trouble in Paradise involves a romantic story between two thieves that are partners in both crime and love.
In the two love stories, one key theme that comes out is that the plan to bring the respective two lovers together even more develops a hitch due to interference from other people outside the love bond. For instance, in Trouble in Paradise, when one of Madame Colet’s suitors –François Filiba — sees Monescu at a garden party, his mind races trying to remember where he had seen him before. Unable to recall where he knows him from, another of Madame Colet’s suitors — The Major –helps Filiba remember when he tells him that he had once mistaken Monescu for a doctor back in Venice. It is at this time that Filiba suddenly recalls his encounter with Monescu in Venice where the “gentleman” thief robs him by pretending to be a doctor. The realization that they may be discovered as criminals makes Monescu and Lily to plan an abrupt getaway after taking all the money from Madame Colet’s safe that her fake secretary Monescu had organizes to be there.
On the other hand, in City Lights, when the Tramp returns to the flower girl’s apartment (that she shares with her grandmother) and finds her being attended by a doctor, he decides to secure a job that can enable him to earn at least some money for her. He becomes a street sweeper for her sake. In the meantime, her grandmother gets a notice that the two of them are going to be evicted if they do not meet the deadline to pay their back rent by the next day. When he visits the blind flower girl during his lunch break and sees a newspaper article about one Viennese doctor who is capable of curing her blindness and discovers the eviction notice, the Tramp decides that he has to help her. Despite reassuring her that he is making plans to pay her apartment’s rent, this is scuttled by his sacking from when he returns to work late. The two films, although different in much, are also similar. The Millionaire friend of the Tramp and the rich Madame Colet live in different worlds from their low-life friends. The way of life led by the two explains the disparity in their life-styles. It is circumstances in life that bring them together.
In conclusion, the two movies: Trouble in Paradise and City Lights exhibit differences despite exploring the same theme. For example, the setting of the two couples, one being composed of a thief and pickpocket lady, and the other couple of a blind girl and a poor man. The differences influence the circumstances in which the two love stories turn both for the poor characters and the thieves characters.