Review: ‘Limelight’

Charlie Chaplin's production is probably derivative of his personal career over the years. Its backdrop is the British Stage. Departing from most forms of Hollywood stereotype, the film has a flavor all its own in the sincere quality of the story anent the onetime great vaudemime and his rescue of a femme ballet student from a suicide attempt and subsequently from great mental depression.

Charlie Chaplin’s production is probably derivative of his personal career over the years. Its backdrop is the British Stage. Departing from most forms of Hollywood stereotype, the film has a flavor all its own in the sincere quality of the story anent the onetime great vaudemime and his rescue of a femme ballet student from a suicide attempt and subsequently from great mental depression.

Production-wise, Limelight is a one-man show since Chaplin does almost everything but grow his own rawstock. The British music hall milieu of 1914 and the third-rate rooming house, where a good deal of the story unfolds, come through as honest reproductions.

While Chaplin is the star, he must surrender some spotlight to Claire Bloom, recruited from the British stage, for the second lead. As the frustrated terper, the delicately beautiful young actress gives a sensitive and memorable performance.

Chaplin’s real-life son, Sydney, is gentle and shy as the composer in love with Bloom.

1972 [sic]: Best Original Score

Limelight

Production

Celebrated/United Artists. Director Charles Chaplin; Producer Charles Chaplin; Screenplay Charles Chaplin; Camera Karl Struss; Editor Joe Inge; Music Charles Chaplin; Art Director Eugene Lourie

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1952. Running time: 135 MIN.

With

Charles Chaplin Claire Bloom Nigel Bruce Buster Keaton Sydney Chaplin Norman Lloyd
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