8.1/10
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103 user 53 critic

Limelight (1952)

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

Director:

Charles Chaplin

Writers:

Charles Chaplin (original story), Charles Chaplin (screenplay by)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

It will move you to love, laughter and tears 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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,506
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

The final film that Charles Chaplin produced in America. See more »

Goofs

The film begins in the summer of 1914, as the First World War began, but less than a year passes before a newsboy shows a headline "United States Enters War", which didn't happen until April 1917, and Neville is drafted, though the draft did not begin until 1916. Curiously, only one person appears in uniform, despite England being on a war footing. See more »

Quotes

Terry: What is there to fight for?
Calvero: Ah, you see, you admit it. What is there to fight for? Everything. Life itself, isn't that enough, to be lived, suffered, enjoyed. What is there to fight for? Life is a beautiful, magnificent thing, even to a jellyfish. Besides, you have your art, your dancing.
Terry: I can't dance without legs.
Calvero: I know a man without arms who can play a scherzo on a violin and does it all with his toes. The trouble is you won't fight. You've given in, continually dwelling on sickness and ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The version of the film that premiered in London in 1952 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 for worldwide distribution. In the ending credits, there is still a billing for Stapleton Kent as Claudius, even though he is no longer seen in the film. The DVD includes the deleted scene as an extra feature. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Unknown Chaplin: Hidden Treasure (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

The Animal Trainer
(1952) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Charles Chaplin
Performed by Charles Chaplin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Drama, Comedy, Tragedy, Philosophy and Nostalgia
11 March 2004 | by tomtheactuarySee all my reviews

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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