Limelight

  • 1952
  • Movie
  • G
  • Comedy, Drama

Chaplin, as usual, is the whole show, superb in this swansong statement about his own career and the old-style entertainment he best represented. He is a one-time great of the British music halls at the turn of the century (which is exactly where Chaplin himself began), who finds a young dancer, Bloom, depressed over setbacks, attempting suicide in their...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

Rating:

Chaplin, as usual, is the whole show, superb in this swansong statement about his own career and the old-style entertainment he best represented. He is a one-time great of the British music halls at the turn of the century (which is exactly where Chaplin himself began), who finds a young

dancer, Bloom, depressed over setbacks, attempting suicide in their cheap boarding house. He takes her in, nurses her back to health, and supports her efforts to become a success. As her star rises, his fades, but he bows out with magnificent aplomb in the place he most loves, the theater. Chaplin

plays comic and dramatic scenes with great skill. He is simply wonderful in his pantomime routines, particularly so when he tames a flea and when he imagines himself a great lion tamer. Chaplin is a delight as he teaches Bloom his "laughter therapy." He ends his career--and his life--with a

hilarious routine with the great comic Keaton, collapsing from exhaustion, falling into the orchestra pit and getting wedged in a large drum, commenting: "Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say something, but I am stuck." He dies happy, believing that Bloom is in love, not with him, but with a

young composer, played by Chaplin's real-life son, Sydney. Other children, from his marriage with Oona O'Neill (daughter of the great American playwright), appear as street urchins. The overlong film is extraordinary in that Chaplin produced, directed, wrote the script, and helped compose the

haunting, Oscar winning score (In an unusual occurance, the composers won the Award, not in 1952, but in 1972, which was the first year the picture was ever shown in a Los Angeles theatre). The film's main love theme, "Eternally," became a popular ballad. LIMELIGHT is a direct comment on Chaplin's

own fabulous career, one which saw the triumph and decline of physical comedy. He had fallen out of favor with a public that believed him to be a wild-eyed leftist radical, if not an outright communist, and LIMELIGHT suffered as a result, yielding little profit at the box office. LIMELIGHT pays

homage to a past in which simple, nuance-free entertainment gave joy and laughter to millions. Bloom, at age 19, became an overnight star with her appearance in the film. (She had debuted in THE BLIND GODDESS at age 16.) She later recalled in her memoirs, Limelight and After: "Chaplin was the most

exacting director, not because he expected you to produce wonders on your own, but because he expected you to follow unquestioningly his every instruction. I was surprised at how old-fashioned much of what he prescribed seemed--rather theatrical effects that I didn't associate with the modern

cinema."

Watch This Now!

Your new favorite show is right here. Trust us.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Rating: G
  • Review: Chaplin, as usual, is the whole show, superb in this swansong statement about his own career and the old-style entertainment he best represented. He is a one-time great of the British music halls at the turn of the century (which is exactly where Chaplin h… (more)

Show More »