Limelight (1952)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

USA, 1952.  .  Screenplay by Charles Chaplin.  Cinematography by Karl Struss.  Produced by Charles Chaplin.  Music by Charles Chaplin.  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1972.

This Charles Chaplin film is an Oscar oddity, for having won an Academy Award (for the beautiful score, composed by the Little Tramp himself) twenty years after it was originally made (the film never played Los Angeles until 1972, which is when it qualified for the award). Claire Bloom plays a wistful, starving dancer who tries to commit suicide in her rundown boarding house but is saved by an out-of-work circus performer (Chaplin). Letting her stay in his room, the two become friends and her loving personality helps restore his own confidence and encourages him to go back to the big time. Chaplin’s penchant for tragically beautiful characters hasn’t failed him, but his sense of pacing is no longer as pristine as it used to be: this film could easily have been twenty to thirty minutes shorter. The sad lack of footage involving Buster Keaton (whose part was trimmed down to accommodate more of the director himself) is also a letdown, but the film isn’t a complete waste of time either.

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