1952 / 137m - USA
Drama, Music
Limelight poster


March 25, 2023


Chaplin and Keaton together in a film, but the result isn't a slapstick extravaganza. The later Chaplin films are far more dramatic and have dropped most of the explicit comedy bits (though Chaplin himself still can't play straight). While this is very different from his early work, I can't say it's a whole lot better.

Calvero is an old clown who has seen better days. He used to be pretty popular, but his heydays are well in the past, and this weighs on him. He meets Claire, a ballet dancer, who has a similarly gloomy outlook on life. Their misery connects them, and together they hope to find a better future.

The performances are still very exaggerated, which doesn't work well for a drama. The plot is reminiscent of the 30s/40s musicals, the musical scenes are pretty dull and I never really cared for either of the two leads. I wasn't quite as annoyed as I get watching Chaplin's slapstick material, but that's a pretty low bar, and hardly a positive.