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on December 5, 2003
I love Chaplin, and most especially I love this movie. Chaplin viewed life mostly as either a comedy, (laughable - though not necessarily funny) or tragic....and this movie is a complex yet tender tale of just that. He is soulful and kind in the character he plays.....and after reading his autobiography and studying him as best I could over the years, this movie seems to come from out of his experiences, either growing up and watching the death of vaudeville....and the acts that flowed from it...and people, generally. Hit wit and wisdom is brilliant and his on-screen personality with Bloom as Thereza is magnificent. I fell in love with him myself. His talent was beyond belief; he wrote the story and the music....and played the music....and with clever quips such as "But isn't it too late for music? Not if we play a nocturne!".... I've watched this movie again and again many times owing to its hypnotic qualities, yet every time I watch it I see things that stand out to me. Of course the ending is sad and tragic.....and I think it ended entirely too soon.....it could have gone on and on.... A beautiful story from a beautiful man of character and depth. His passing was a huge loss, though inevitable.
When he made this film he was about 64 years old....yet bouncy and buoyant...very charismatic, sweet and charming. Also he brings a sophistication to the screen that is one of the highlights of the older movies and actors originating from the UK.
Limelight is on my shelf...though well worn from playing it over and over. I highly recommend it be on yours.
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on July 18, 2003
To this day, the audiences don't know whether to laugh or cry when encountering this long-winded melodrama about an aged performer and a troubled young ballerina.
Director Bernardo Bertolucci is among those who consider "Limelight" Charles Chaplin's masterpiece. When the tramp clown breathes his last, "Who is dying here is not Calvaro, but Charlie Chaplin," Bertolucci says in the DVD documentary. "With 'Limelight,' tears flow very easily."
The MK2 documentary for "Limelight" is the Chaplin Collection's best so far. It covers the period in which Chaplin left the United States, only to return once, reluctantly, for his honorary Oscar.
The docu doesn't address the old charges that Chaplin spiked Buster Keaton's best work in the film. Regardless, the extended Keaton-Chaplin slapstick sequence remains the highlight for many viewers. The DVD photo gallery includes W. Eugene Smith's terrific stills of the men at work.
The film enjoy across-the-board improvements in video and audio, including digital transfers from Chaplin family elements and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes. Imaginative bonus features inform and entertain without wearing out their welcome.
"Limelight" extras include footage of Chaplin getting a hero's welcome in London and revisiting the places of his youth. Home movies from the 1950s show Geraldine Chaplin as a child and teenager. (The great Chaplin comes across like any other proud goofy dad, playing with his kids.) A hilarious 1919 short shows Chaplin on the loose as a flea-circus wrangler.
Chaplin and his collaborators' luscious score, which won a belated Oscar in 1972 -- once the film finally qualified by screening in L.A. -- can be enjoyed separately, as an extra. The music sounds fine in mono or in the 5.1, but the surround seems to introduce some boominess.
The film has an intro by Chaplin biographer David Robinson, rendered pretty much useless by placement on disc 2 (almost all of his information is repeated in the docus anyway).
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on March 27, 2000
That there are persons who dislike Limelight astounds me. My only conclusion (and this is well supported) is that the critics of Limelight don't get it. Chaplin's character, Calvero, doesn't philosophize endlessly because Chaplin is a blowhard; he overthinks life so that he doesn't lose his grip on it. Far from being indulgent, Limelight absurdly exaggerates ideas which must have been meaningful to Chaplin for the sake of characterization--it's sacrifical art. And it works. God! does it work. Limelight will make you cry if you have a soul and laugh if you have a sense of humor. This is one of Chaplin's best--up there with City Lights and The Great Dictator. "I like working on the streets," Calvero says; "I guess it's the Tramp in me." Sniffle.
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on December 16, 1998
I am a Chaplin fan but I must recognize that it was not until I saw Limelight a couple of years ago for the first time in my life, that I discovered the real genious in Chaplin. This is a film the creates a bridge among the generations: the older, represented by Calvero (Chaplin) and the younger represented by Bloom. What saves her is the same thing that saves Calvero. The music is also remarkable. Long ago I first listened to a song called "Candilejas" sung by brazilean singer Roberto Carlos and until I saw Limelight I didn't know this was a Spanish version for the main title theme of the film that was awarded an Oscar in 1972. In my view, and I've watched many many films, this is the best film ever made, well ahead of Citizen Kane.
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on April 7, 2004
This is a fascinating and complex film that, if you are a Chaplin fan, will hit you with many emotions and make you think. The movie is rather dreamlike, in the sense that it re-invokes memories of his father, the music halls of his youth, his no-longer-attainable desires for beautiful young ingenues, and nighmares of losing an audience. As the last film he ever made in the US before he was declared persona non grata, it is an apt bookend to a 38 year film career. If the tramp was killed off by Monsier Verdoux, Charlie's remaining avatars confront death with elegance and melancholy in this underrated treasure.
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on December 21, 1998
How many times has this film been reviewed as a personal "over-indulgence" of Chaplin? How might one even begin to say that a man, with so much to offer to humanity, could EVER be over-indulgent? It is an insult not only to Chaplin but to the sensitivity and intellect of the one saying it. LIMELIGHT is a haunting and memorable film which displays the gracefulness of one man who had the courage to pass the "creative torch" to another. This "torch" most represents LIFE. And this is the message of LIMELIGHT.
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on June 11, 2002
So many aspects of this film are wonderful...not just Chaplin's relationship to his dwindling careet or to the drink he needs to revive the ecstasy of performance...not just the father/sister/lover/nurse(!) relationship he has with the dancer...not just the routine with Buster. There are so many important small moments in this film, my favorite are the scenes with the landlady and those with the tramp band. Chaplin lays it all bare here, but perhaps it is a difficult film for anyone who is not also a clown.
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on November 24, 1998
I was a movie usher at the Astor Theatre in NYC in 1951 and stood through 19 showings of "Limelight". I loved every moment of it. When I saw it again years later, the same emotions erupted. Buster Keaton's piece alone is worth the price!
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on September 7, 1999
Some films leave me with a sense of wonder and amazement, and this was one of those films. Very beautiful, elegant, worldly, and emotional.
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on June 28, 1998
LIMELIGHT is an essential film for anyone who loves Chaplin or the cinema. END
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