I’ve been wanting to see Limelight for quite some time, as what most people consider Chaplin’s last great film, so I really appreciate the push to see it. I had high hopes and they were both met and exceeded. Interestingly, the FB group where I’ve been tracking this challenge seemed to think I wouldn’t care for this one as much as its week partner The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. That kind of baffles me, as this seemed like as shoo-in to me, and sure enough.
Here Chaplin plays an aging vaudeville comedian, the great Calvero, who can now barely get a gig at the bottom of a bill and when he does, basically bottoms out of it. He saves a despondent ballerina who’s trying to commit suicide (Claire Bloom) and they end up giving each other reasons to live, basically. It’s not a particularly unique story, but treating an attempted suicide so frankly is pretty unusual for 1952, anticipating Wilder’s The Apartment by eight years.