Limelight is a 1952 comedy-drama film written, produced, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin, based on a novella by Chaplin entitled Footlights.The score was composed by Chaplin and arranged by Ray Rasch.
The film stars Chaplin as a washed-up comedian who saves a suicidal dancer, played by Claire Bloom, from killing herself, and both try to get through life; additional roles are provided by Nigel Bruce, Sydney Earl Chaplin, Wheeler Dryden, and Norman Lloyd with an appearance from Buster Keaton. In dance scenes, Bloom is doubled by Melissa Hayden.
Upon the film's release, critics' reception was divided; it was heavily boycotted in the United States, and commercially failed. However, the film was re-released in the United States in 1972 which included its first screening in Los Angeles. This allowed the decades-old film to be in contention for the 45th Academy Awards where Chaplin won his only competitive Oscar. Today, the film is sometimes regarded as one of Chaplin's best and most personal works, and has since attained a cult following.
The movie is set in London in 1914, on the eve of World War I (and the year Chaplin made his first film). Calvero (Charlie Chaplin), once a famous stage clown but now a washed-up drunk, saves a young dancer, Thereza "Terry" Ambrose (Claire Bloom), from a suicide attempt. Nursing her back to health, Calvero helps Terry regain her self-esteem and resume her dancing career. In doing so he regains his own self-confidence, but an attempt to make a comeback is met with failure. Terry says she wants to marry Calvero despite their age difference, although she has befriended Neville (Sydney Earl Chaplin), a young composer Calvero believes would be better suited to her. In order to give them a chance, Calvero leaves home and becomes a street entertainer. Terry, now starring in her own show, eventually finds Calvero and persuades him to return to the stage for a benefit concert. Reunited with an old partner (Buster Keaton), Calvero gives a triumphant comeback performance. He suffers a heart attack during a routine, however, and dies in the wings while watching Terry, the second act on the bill, dance on stage.
Published By: Jake Sheets, Octopi Digital