Three Chaplin silent comedies "A Dog's Life", "Shoulder Arms", and "The Pilgrim" are strung together to form a single feature length film. Chaplin provides new music, narration, and a small... See full summary »
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. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton had an interesting relationship. Long considered rivals but always having avoided commenting about each other in the press, Chaplin hired Keaton for a part in Limelight (1952). Keaton, who was flat broke at the time, went into a career decline after having been signed by MGM in 1928, as the studio would not let him improvise in any of his films nor allow him any writing or directorial input, and he was eventually reduced to writing gags - often uncredited - for other comedians' films. Chaplin, at this point, felt sorry for Keaton due to his hard luck, but Keaton recognized that, despite Charlie's better fortune and far greater wealth, Chaplin was (strangely) the more depressed of the two. In one scene in Limelight, Chaplin's character was dying. While the camera was fading away, Keaton was muttering to Chaplin without moving his lips, "That's it, good, wait, don't move, wait, good, we're through." In his autobiography Keaton called Chaplin "the greatest silent comedian of all time." See more »
When Calvero has returned to the flat after his failure to revive his career at the Middlesex Music Hall, Thereza is sitting in an armchair, which has a blanket draped over the back. For most of the scene, when you see her in close-up, the blanket is folded over the middle of the chair-back, and so part of the chair-back is visible. In the long shots, however, the blanket is unfolded and draped fully, covering the chair-back. Towards the end of the scene of Calvero and Thereza's conversation, this is fixed so that the blanket is always folded and draped over the middle. See more »
Chaplin could do anything as well or better than anyone else in movies: acting, writing, directing, composing, producing, editing, even choreographing. He was world renown as a comedian, yet has placed some of the most poignant images on film that ever were. He was, even more than the great Orson Welles, a sort of one man band.
He was as successful worldwide as anyone ever was in movies. Somehow in all this, he got the idea that he had something worthwhile to say about life and art. Which he did with this film.. and I for one am extremely grateful.
The subjects of alcoholism... depression... aging... the fickle relationships of audiences and performers... these are all covered in a film that manages to fit in philosophical dialog, pantomime, dancing, and music. The multiple showings of the same comedy sequence (in a dream, in front of an unappreciative audience, in front of a wildly appreciative audience) gets one to thinking about the lemming-like nature of people in a way that someone like Chaplin would have had almost unique insight into.
It may take a while to become accustomed to the odd pacing and cadence of a Chaplin movie; once you are, you find yourself in the middle of an artistic experience like no other.
The music in this film is unusually haunting and deserving of the Academy award it belatedly received. 10 out of 10.
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