Associate director: Robert Aldrich. Art director: Eugene Lourié. Choreography: Charles Chaplin, André Eglevsky, Melissa Hayden. Music: Charles Chaplin. Music director: Keith Williams. Music orchestrations: Ray Rasch. Songs: Charles Chaplin, Ray Rasch. Celebrated — United Artists. Producer: Charles Chaplin.
Copyright 23 October 1952 (in notice: 1951) by Celebrated Films Corp. Released through United Artists. New York opening simultaneously at the Astor and Trans-Lux Sixtieth Street: 23 October 1952. U.S. release: 6 February 1953. London opening at the Odeon, Leicester Square: 23 October 1952. U.K. release: 2 February 1953. Australian release: 18 June 1953. Sydney opening at the Regent. Copyright length: 102 minutes. U.S. length: 143 minutes. U.K. length: 140 minutes. 12,636 feet. Australian length: 137 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: London in 1914: A once-famous but now passé, music-hall comedian befriends a young but discouraged, aspiring ballerina.
NOTES: A Prestigious Hollywood Award went to Charles Chaplin, Ray Rasch and Larry Russell (a mystery nominee who doesn't figure in the above credits at all) for the Best Original Dramatic Score of 1972 (yes, 1972 for "Limelight" was not released in the Los Angeles area until that year), defeating Images, Napoleon and Samantha, The Poseidon Adventure, and Sleuth.
The music includes a concerto, a ballet called "The Death of Columbine", "The Sardine Song", "The Animal Trainer", "Spring Is Here" and the top-of-the-hit-parade "Terry's Theme" which Frank Chacksfield and His Orchestra turned into the best-selling record of 1953 in England and Australia.
"Limelight" was number twelve at Australian ticket-windows for 1953. Oddly, it's the Australian version (plus a 4-minute segment) rather than the British or American version that both Image and Warner Home Video have released on DVD.
COMMENT: Like his immediately previous feature, "Monsieur Verdoux" (1947), "Limelight" finds Chaplin in an extremely self-indulgent mood. Even in its slightly abbreviated Australian version, I found the film far too slow, too sentimental, too heavy, and the climactic pantomime sadly unfunny. What's more the film has another big negative for me. I can't stand Claire Bloom in her self-pitying mood.
I don't mind sentiment, so long as the characters are attractive. But Limelight's people did not arouse my sympathy. Maybe I'm hard- hearted. Everyone else loved the movie. I found it a dull drag.
Indifferent photography and direction, added to minuscule production values, didn't help either. I suffered it through to the end, but I was mighty glad when it was all over.
OTHER VIEWS: A very moving film. One of the Top Ten Pictures of 1952. — Bosley Crowther in The New York Times. -
Drama / Music / Romance
Drama / Music / Romance
Chaplin's final American film tells the story of a fading music hall comedian's effort to help a despondent ballet dancer learn both to walk and feel confident about life again. The highlight of the film is the classic duet with Chaplin's only real artistic film comedy rival, Buster Keaton.
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