Limelight DVD Review

The face of a man at thought...

Returning home after a night on the tiles, Calvero has the shock of his life. A young neighbour tries to kill herself by taking sleeping pills and leaving her gas on. He pulls her free of the room and gets a doctor to save her life. A slow recovery follows. We find out her name, Terry Ambrose and she tells him she is a failed dancer. This lights him up. Once she is well he will let her dreams become reality. He is the famous Calvero and his success will lead to her own. Like much however, it is only on the surface happiness reign. Below that is the heart and this is a beast which no man can control.

Limelight has the most difficult of themes in all of Chaplin’s modern films. The autobiographical elements aside, we have at its core a film about loss. Loss of love, adoration and identity. These all find root in Chaplin becoming older. It is obvious and over stated that the autobiographical elements derived from his losing his audience to younger film makers. What is less said is his fear of losing the mechanism to make film. He seems to say that this is who he was. He identified his being as that of a creative. To lose creativity, would be to lose his own self.

Two for one

We know that The Great Dictator is his most political motivated but this is his most unsettling. His fear of losing his very being to a world that is fleeting and begun to move progressively faster. Take the above and then mix in his pairing of himself and Buster Keaton. The two never worked together but this film sees them paired for the first and only time. Think of it as Chaplin saying, we are the same and I could have been Keaton, he could have been me. I could have been him, reduced to poverty and failure, he could have been successful like me.  He sees his life through the eyes of another person who shared so much of his lifes play. It rings very hard and fair because it shines with a humanity. Amazing and direct. I would even go so far as to say a magic inside his work.

What about the discs themselves? The film looks great but is taken from the print from MK2. Audio has a little ironed out of the fizz/pop types that were present. The film is still beutiful but tainted before by light merge. Thishas been solved by a very keen Curzon mix. Extras however! This is jam packed with great extras and features.Deleted scenes are amazing and explore more details of the personal, Home movies are very eye opening, the commentary by David Thompson is authored and intellegent. We always knew the man but this adds shades and light.

A tear of joy

I would have to say buy, buy, buy…

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