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Limelight (1952)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 10,101 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 23 critic

A fading comedian and a suicidally despondent ballet dancer must look to each other to find meaning and hope in their lives.

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(original story and screenplay)
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Title: Limelight (1952)

Limelight (1952) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Thereza
Nigel Bruce ...
Postant
...
Calvero's Partner
...
Neville
...
Bodalink
Andre Eglevsky ...
Dancer
Melissa Hayden ...
Dancer
Marjorie Bennett ...
Mrs. Alsop
Wheeler Dryden ...
Thereza's Doctor
Barry Bernard ...
John Redfern
Stapleton Kent ...
Claudius
Mollie Glessing ...
Maid
Leonard Mudie ...
Calvero's Doctor (as Leonard Mudi)
Loyal Underwood ...
Street Musician
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Storyline

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 <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dancer | ballet dancer | ballet | legs | love | See more »

Taglines:

The masterpiece of laughter and tears from the master of comedy! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 1952 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Limelight  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (initial release) | (London premiere)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chaplin's theme from "Limelight" was a hit in the 1950s under the title "Eternally." See more »

Goofs

When Calvero returns after his failure to revive his career at the Middlesex Music Hall, the clock on the mantelpiece behind Thereza jumps back and forth 45 minutes. See more »

Quotes

Calvero: I believe I'm dying, doctor. Then, I don't know. I've died so many times.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"The glamour of limelight, from which age must pass as youth enters." See more »

Connections

Featured in Unknown Chaplin: The Happiest Years (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Eternally (Terry's Theme)
(1952) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Chaplin
See more »

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User Reviews

A final reflective masterpiece
14 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

A washed-up, formerly-famous Music Hall comic, Charlie Chaplin, saves a suicidal ballerina, Claire Bloom. In the process of giving her the hope to move on and succeed, he regains the confidence to return to the stage himself.

"Limelight" is a moving and autobiographical film that works as both a bittersweet drama and a mirror into the soul of one of the world's greatest film makers. I sometimes wondered if my affection for this film is based on my knowledge of Chaplin's life and career, and the parallels between "Limelight" and people and incidents in his own life. When I watch this film I see an artist standing naked at a crossroads before his audience, unsure where to go and what to do. However, I know the film does not require an advanced degree in Chaplin to enjoy. My wife, who could probably do little more than identify the Tramp in a lineup before marrying me, loved this film before she met me. I have also had the good fortune to see the film in a theater in New York and watch it work its wonders on an audience. Stylistically, it might be dated, but the magic lingers.

"Limelight" is best viewed as a drama with comedy rather than a comedy with drama. Outwardly, it is the simple story of a vulnerable youth who mistakes her gratitude for love, and an older man wise enough to know the difference. But it's more than that too. It's about an artist's nature, and the addictive power of applause. The Chaplin character, Calvero, knows how to make people laugh, but feels he has lost the ability to do so. He realizes he is at the end of his career, but he still hungers for one final moment in the limelight. The film is talky and philosophical, and, yes, a little pompous and pretentious at times too. It's almost as if Chaplin is trying to impart through words the simple joys and mystery of life he was once able to express effortlessly through simple slapstick alone. Does this flood of words mean Chaplin has lost his skills as a film maker? No. He still has the power to move.

"Limelight" is Chaplin's final masterpiece. It is one of my favorites. I prefer to think of it as his last film. Should this be your first Chaplin film? No. Start with films like "The Gold Rush," "City Lights," and "The Great Dictator." Come to know the comedian before you get to know the man.


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