Tuesday, January 3, 2012


In 1914 London, a drunken and forgotten comedian stumbles his way into his apartment when he begins to smell gas emanating from one of the flats. Breaking the door down, he rescues a suicidal dancer and afterwards begins to nurse her back to health. Raising her spirits and devoting himself to her, the clown begins a revival in order to raise money for her revue, but fails miserably leading to a role reversal with the dancer championing his spirits. All results in a grand finale with the two artists performing in a grand production. "Limelight" is Charlie Chaplin's tribute to his life's work. While overindulgent and overly sentimental, the film is deeply moving and stylistically superior. Hearing Chaplin speak, which he had done before on film, is a great surprise as his voice is elegant, well-spoken, and not at all a letdown compared to his silent tramp. His performance is wonderful as well, incorporating many of his silent gags into the spoken role. Clare Bloom is really fine as well, even though her character is overly mawkish. While the best parts, in my opinion, occur in the smaller moments in Chaplin's flat with Bloom, the culmination song and dance routine between Charlie and fellow silent great Buster Keaton is the highlight of the movie. "Limelight" is a deservedly indulgent self-tribute by and to the greatest clown of the cinema.