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Charlie Chaplin: Limelight [VHS]
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Certainly, Charlie Chaplin at this point in his career (1952) had earned the right to reflect on his years as an entertainer, and could make his film as overlong and soppy and sentimental as he darn well pleased. But that doesn't mean the rest of us have to abet this kind of melodramatic indulgence. Chaplin stars as Calvero, a fading clown who helps a paralyzed dancer regain the use of her legs and achieve great fame, but of course at grave cost to Calvero. The film is famous for featuring the only onscreen teaming of Chaplin with the other legendary comic of the silent era, Buster Keaton, and is equally infamous for Chaplin having allegedly cut out most of Keaton's best bits in their sequence together. How much Chaplin sabotaged his own movie to keep Keaton from shining has been much debated, but consider: In Keaton's autobiography, he calls Chaplin the greatest screen comic of all time. In Chaplin's autobiography, he never mentions Keaton. --David Kronke
Top customer reviews
It is one of the few movies I can watch every few years
and laugh out loud and shed a few tears
Chaplin is such a genius
and this movie is his Metaphysical treatise.
The New Age Truths are thinly buried in the dialogue, the Life Force that is within us all is tested by Life's failures and vindicated by our successes. That is the point of the film, that and dealing with the aging of the body, the endurance of the Spirit and the courage to continue to dance even when you legs feel like they are giving out.
Bravo. Truly a transcendent work of art, the lessons of this film are for all of us, not just for performers of the stage.
See this film and you will be pulled in and made to grow as a person.
His character is a music hall clown who's fallen on hard times due in part to failing health. To be funny on-stage, 'The Great Calvero" always relied upon alcohol but after a near-fatal heart attack, the liquid key to his career success can now also be the cause of his earthly demise. Yet, we first meet Calvero one summer day in 1914.as he staggers home in a state of supreme intoxication.
Fortunately, he's not too drunk to smell gas coming from a first floor apartment. Calvero breaks down the door and rescues a young girl who's trying to commit suicide. Ballerina Thereza (Bloom) is convinced that she's had rheumatic fever and is paralyzed, but the doctor tells Calvero that the girl isn't sick al all-- her illnesses are psychosomatic.
The big-hearted trouper takes 'Terry' in and does his best to nurse her back to both physical and mental health. During one of his philosophic moments, Calvero says that like her he used to wish for death, but has now reached a point where living's become a habit that he wants to continue.
I won't reveal the next nearly 2 hours of story but worth noting is Chaplin's amazing agility and athletic strength at nearly age 63. We see him do some of Calvero's famous old routines near story's end which require much flexibility and energy, including a dancer's split that Chaplin is able to rise to his feet from unassisted and without use of his hands. It's a remakable feat for a man of any age to perform.
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll rating.
(7.9) Limelight (1952) - Charles Chaplin/Claire Bloom/Nigel Bruce/Buster Keaton/Sydney Chaplin/Norman Lloyd/'Snub' Pollard (uncredited: Geraldine Chaplin/Josephine Chaplin/Charles Chaplin Jr./Oona Chaplin/Michael Chaplin/Sam Harris/Edna Purviance)
Who knew Chaplin spoke like Laurence Olivier?!
Clarie Bloom couldn't be lovelier..... yes this is probably melodrama at its zenith, but who cares.....it's terrific. You cannot consider yourself a cinema buff unless you know this film. As a bonus (as if this film needed anything more to recommend it?) there is an ending surprise performance in Limelight.
A delight..... timeless, full of pathos, humour, a simple story, yet complex in its developments.....a must see.
Chaplin directed, starred and wrote the music for Limeligh.....who could do as such now?
--peter --jn 3:16
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