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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 5 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 ... 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

The first feature film in which Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton appeared onscreen together. This is often wrongly cited as their first onscreen meeting, but both appeared in a short publicity film in 1922 entitled Seeing Stars (1922). See more »

Goofs

In discussing the ballet with the cast, the director casts a giant shadow over the auditorium (revealing it to be nothing more than a painting). See more »

Quotes

Terry: If all else fails, there's always that little home in the country.
Calvero: This is my home, here.
Terry: I thought you hated the theater.
Calvero: I do. I also hate the sight of blood, but it's in my veins.
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

Featured in Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003) 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

A final reflective masterpiece
14 January 2004 | by hausrathmanSee 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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