Haunting and unforgettable piece from Charles Chaplin that was nearly lostin the American cinema all together. It played in very few cities within theU.S. in 1952 and was never shown in Los Angeles due to the suspicion thatthe House of Un-American Acts Committee had concerning Chaplin (making nosense to me as Chaplin, who was British, was the polar opposite of aCommunist from all indications). The film disappeared from U.S. soil and didnot re-surface until some 20 years later in 1972 and Chaplin actually won anOscar, with fellow scorers Raymond Rasch and Larry Russell, for this movie'soriginal dramatic score (this was the only competitive Oscar Chaplin everwon). Chaplin stars as a washed-up vaudeville performer. He is now anelderly man (in his 60s when the film was made) and the spotlight is goneforever, even though he still secretly yearns for it. Chaplin discovers avery young ballet dancer (Claire Bloom) who has attempted suicide becauseshe cannot handle being a performer. Naturally Chaplin cannot believe thatthis young, beautiful and talented woman would rather take her life than bea ballet performer (the fact that Chaplin yearns for her youth and theability to be an entertainer again makes him bound and determined to get herback on her feet). He tries with all his might to get her performance-readyagain, all the while he is also trying to resurrect the career that he lostlong ago. Chaplin has a dream of a stunning performance he has on the stage,but when his act ends there is no one there to acknowledge him (one of, ifnot the saddest sequences I have ever seen on film). Soon it becomes obviousthat Chaplin's time is running out and his desperation to have that one lastpiece of action engulfs his mind, body, heart and soul. "Limelight" is oneof the most dramatic and intense pictures I have ever encountered. Chaplin'slife and career had changed dramatically by 1952. The Little Tramp was nomore, all movies had sound, some films were being made in color and thesubject matter of motion pictures was slowly starting to change. In manyways Chaplin was trying to show the viewing public his life in celluloidform and "Limelight" would be the vehicle used. This is a stunning work thatonce again shows the humanity and overall sensitivity that Chaplin had withhis movies. Chaplin's long-time rival in real-life (Buster Keaton) evenshows up late and acts as a partner in the duo's stage routine. The pairingis usually the most memorable part of this production to most, but the storyand the deep emotional part that Chaplin plays are the things that make"Limelight" quite possibly Chaplin's greatest cinematic masterpiece. 5 starsout of 5.
Drama / Music
Drama / Music
Chaplin's final American film tells the story of a fading music hall comedian's effort to help a despondent ballet dancer learn both to walk and feel confident about life again. The highlight of the film is the classic duet with Chaplin's only real artistic film comedy rival, Buster Keaton.
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