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Limelight (1952)

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

Director:

Charles Chaplin

Writers:

Charles Chaplin (original story by), Charles Chaplin (screenplay by)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Chaplin ... Calvero
Claire Bloom ... Thereza
Nigel Bruce ... Postant
Buster Keaton ... Calvero's Partner
Sydney Chaplin ... Neville
Norman Lloyd ... Bodalink
Andre Eglevsky Andre Eglevsky ... Dancer
Melissa Hayden Melissa Hayden ... Dancer: Columbine
Marjorie Bennett ... Mrs. Alsop
Wheeler Dryden Wheeler Dryden ... Thereza's Doctor
Barry Bernard Barry Bernard ... John Redfern
Stapleton Kent Stapleton Kent ... Claudius
Molly Glessing Molly Glessing ... Maid (as Mollie Glessing)
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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1952 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Candilejas See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (initial release) | (London premiere)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

The letter Calvero receives from Redfern states that his performance at Middlesex is on Monday 5 September. In 1914, when the scene is supposed to take place, 5 September was a Saturday. See more »

Quotes

Calvero: The heart and the mind, what an enigma.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

When the film was released in 1952, it ran 141 minutes. It had been in distribution for several months, when Chaplin recalled film prints and deleted a scene in which Calvero leaves the sleeping Thereza, and goes to a bar, where he meets his old friend, Claudius, the armless violin player, who gives Calvero money. The film ran 137 minutes after this scene was edited out. In the ending credits, there is still a billing for Stapleton Kent as Claudius, even though he is not seen in current versions of the film. The excellent Image/David Shepard DVD version is the 137 minute version, but it presents the deleted scene as an extra feature. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Brontes at the BBC (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

The Life of a Sardine
(1952) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Charles Chaplin
Performed by Charles Chaplin
See more »

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User Reviews

The Spotlight Unfortunately Cannot Shine Forever.
7 November 2003 | by tfrizzellSee all my reviews

Haunting and unforgettable piece from Charles Chaplin that was nearly lost in the American cinema all together. It played in very few cities within the U.S. in 1952 and was never shown in Los Angeles due to the suspicion that the House of Un-American Acts Committee had concerning Chaplin (making no sense to me as Chaplin, who was British, was the polar opposite of a Communist from all indications). The film disappeared from U.S. soil and did not re-surface until some 20 years later in 1972 and Chaplin actually won an Oscar, with fellow scorers Raymond Rasch and Larry Russell, for this movie's original dramatic score (this was the only competitive Oscar Chaplin ever won). Chaplin stars as a washed-up vaudeville performer. He is now an elderly man (in his 60s when the film was made) and the spotlight is gone forever, even though he still secretly yearns for it. Chaplin discovers a very young ballet dancer (Claire Bloom) who has attempted suicide because she cannot handle being a performer. Naturally Chaplin cannot believe that this young, beautiful and talented woman would rather take her life than be a ballet performer (the fact that Chaplin yearns for her youth and the ability to be an entertainer again makes him bound and determined to get her back on her feet). He tries with all his might to get her performance-ready again, all the while he is also trying to resurrect the career that he lost long 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, if not the saddest sequences I have ever seen on film). Soon it becomes obvious that Chaplin's time is running out and his desperation to have that one last piece of action engulfs his mind, body, heart and soul. "Limelight" is one of the most dramatic and intense pictures I have ever encountered. Chaplin's life and career had changed dramatically by 1952. The Little Tramp was no more, all movies had sound, some films were being made in color and the subject matter of motion pictures was slowly starting to change. In many ways Chaplin was trying to show the viewing public his life in celluloid form and "Limelight" would be the vehicle used. This is a stunning work that once again shows the humanity and overall sensitivity that Chaplin had with his movies. Chaplin's long-time rival in real-life (Buster Keaton) even shows up late and acts as a partner in the duo's stage routine. The pairing is usually the most memorable part of this production to most, but the story and the deep emotional part that Chaplin plays are the things that make "Limelight" quite possibly Chaplin's greatest cinematic masterpiece. 5 stars out of 5.


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