Drama / Music

IMDb Rating 8.1


Downloaded 664 times
11/8/2018 8:11:09 AM

137 min
P/S 4 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tfrizzell

Haunting and unforgettable piece from Charles Chaplin that was nearly lostin the American cinema all together. It played in very few cities within theU.S. in 1952 and was never shown in Los Angeles due to the suspicion thatthe House of Un-American Acts Committee had concerning Chaplin (making nosense to me as Chaplin, who was British, was the polar opposite of aCommunist from all indications). The film disappeared from U.S. soil and didnot re-surface until some 20 years later in 1972 and Chaplin actually won anOscar, with fellow scorers Raymond Rasch and Larry Russell, for this movie'soriginal dramatic score (this was the only competitive Oscar Chaplin everwon). Chaplin stars as a washed-up vaudeville performer. He is now anelderly man (in his 60s when the film was made) and the spotlight is goneforever, even though he still secretly yearns for it. Chaplin discovers avery young ballet dancer (Claire Bloom) who has attempted suicide becauseshe cannot handle being a performer. Naturally Chaplin cannot believe thatthis young, beautiful and talented woman would rather take her life than bea ballet performer (the fact that Chaplin yearns for her youth and theability to be an entertainer again makes him bound and determined to get herback on her feet). He tries with all his might to get her performance-readyagain, all the while he is also trying to resurrect the career that he lostlong ago. Chaplin has a dream of a stunning performance he has on the stage,but when his act ends there is no one there to acknowledge him (one of, ifnot the saddest sequences I have ever seen on film). Soon it becomes obviousthat Chaplin's time is running out and his desperation to have that one lastpiece of action engulfs his mind, body, heart and soul. "Limelight" is oneof the most dramatic and intense pictures I have ever encountered. Chaplin'slife and career had changed dramatically by 1952. The Little Tramp was nomore, all movies had sound, some films were being made in color and thesubject matter of motion pictures was slowly starting to change. In manyways Chaplin was trying to show the viewing public his life in celluloidform and "Limelight" would be the vehicle used. This is a stunning work thatonce again shows the humanity and overall sensitivity that Chaplin had withhis movies. Chaplin's long-time rival in real-life (Buster Keaton) evenshows up late and acts as a partner in the duo's stage routine. The pairingis usually the most memorable part of this production to most, but the storyand the deep emotional part that Chaplin plays are the things that make"Limelight" quite possibly Chaplin's greatest cinematic masterpiece. 5 starsout of 5.

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Reviewed by tomtheactuary 10/10

Chaplin could do anything as well or better than anyone else in movies:acting, writing, directing, composing, producing, editing, evenchoreographing. He was world renown as a comedian, yet has placed some ofthe most poignant images on film that ever were. He was, even more thanthegreat Orson Welles, a sort of one man band.<br><br>He was as successful worldwide as anyone ever was in movies. Somehow inallthis, he got the idea that he had something worthwhile to say about lifeandart. Which he did with this film.. and I for one am extremelygrateful.<br><br>The subjects of alcoholism... depression... aging... the ficklerelationships of audiences and performers... these are all covered in afilmthat manages to fit in philosophical dialog, pantomime, dancing, andmusic.The multiple showings of the same comedy sequence (in a dream, in front ofan unappreciative audience, in front of a wildly appreciative audience)getsone to thinking about the lemming-like nature of people in a way thatsomeone like Chaplin would have had almost unique insightinto.<br><br>It may take a while to become accustomed to the odd pacing and cadence ofaChaplin movie; once you are, you find yourself in the middle of anartisticexperience like no other.<br><br>The music in this film is unusually haunting and deserving of the Academyaward it belatedly received. 10 out of 10.<br><br>

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Reviewed by zetes 9/10

Charlie Chaplin is one of the undisputed masters of the cinema. He was oneof the funniest actors of the cinema, and he was also one of the greatestdirectors. Of course, the films that he is most famous for are his silentcomedies, especially The Gold Rush, City Lights, and Modern Times. Thelatter two were the product of Chaplin's stubborn clinging to the formatandconventions of the silent cinema, though everyone else had gone to sound.This stubbornness was certainly sound. His contemporaries such as BusterKeaton and Harold Lloyd lost popularity when they moved to sound.Chaplin'slast two silent films were popular and made a lot of money. Audiences mayhave craved sound, but they craved Chaplin, too, and did not disdain hissilence. He was one of the silent artists who thought that they were justachieving the peak of their medium when sound came in. He proved himselfright, since City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) are probably histwobest films, and both are two of the best films ever made.<br><br>Finally, in 1940, Chaplin directed and starred in his first talkie, TheGreat Dictator. Three more followed, Monsieur Verdoux, then Limelight,thenKing of New York, which happens to be the only one of these four I havenotseen. The Great Dictator and Monsieur Verdoux were both good films intheirown way, but perhaps Chaplin's in depth political commentary in thesefilmsdetracted from them. The type of comedy that you find in his silent filmsdid not mix well with this social commentary. The simple juxtapositions ofthe worlds of the poor and the rich in City Lights and Modern Times werefarmore powerful than what his first two talkies had to offer.<br><br>Then came Limelight, one of the most bittersweet films ever made. It isnotperfect, but it achieves a grand melodramatic beauty that few films haveever even approached. The story is simple: a washed-up, old vaudvillianrescues a young ballet dancer from suicide. He takes care of her until sheis healthy again, and even restores her confidence. The story may besimple,but the character dynamics are very complex. As the dancer, Theresa, isrecovering, Calvero is not only rebuilding her confidence, but also hisown.Theresa, because of his kindness towards her, finally believes she hasfallen in love with him, even going so far as proposing marriage to him.Whether she actually loves him or not, and Calvero strongly asserts thatsheshouldn't and doesn't, these two characters have a constantly evolvingrelationship that does not end until the credits role. It is utterlyfascinating, captivating, and dramatic.<br><br>There are a couple of problems, and though they're small, they deserveattention. Perhaps the biggest problem is that Claire Bloom is quiteguiltyof overacting. Her line delivery is bizarre and overdramatic. This isn't abig deal, since you ought to be keenly aware that the film takes place inthe world of melodrama, and is thus exaggerated. Another thing that irkedmeis Buster Keaton's role. It is little more than a cameo. In fact, hischaracter doesn't even have a name in the credits. This is trulydisappointing, seeing that he, although Chaplin may have had the mostheart,was the all-around funniest silent comedian.

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