Wednesday, December 1, 2010
MOVIE SHOWCASE: LIMELIGHT
I am a huge fan of Charles Chaplin. Despite his personal demons he had, he was a wonderful comedian and gifted actor. I managed to catch his film LIMELIGHT the other week on TCM, and I was reminded what a great film it was. LIMELIGHT is a 1952 comedy-drama film written, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin, co-starring Claire Bloom, with an appearance by Buster Keaton. In dance scenes, Bloom is doubled by Melissa Hayden. The film score is composed by Chaplin and arranged by Ray Rasch.
The film was released amidst scandal, since it was during touring to support the film that Chaplin was refused re-admittance to the United States. The film was subsequently passed over by many theaters. In 1972, the film was given a wide U.S. release and honored at the Academy Awards.
The movie is set in London in 1914, on the eve of World War I. 1914 was the year Chaplin made his first movie. Calvero (Charles Chaplin), once a famous stage clown but now a washed-up drunk, saves a young dancer, Thereza Ambrose, alias Terry (Claire Bloom), from suicide. 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 his attempts to make a comeback are less successful. Terry says she wants to marry Calvero despite their age difference, although she has befriended Neville, 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 (Keaton), Calvero gives a triumphant comeback performance but immediately suffers a heart attack and dies in the wings while just a few feet away Terry, the second act on the bill, dances on stage...