When we talk about people who revolutionized cinema we cannot forget to mention Charlie Chaplin. One of the most famous comedians of all time he also made a couple of dramas. Limelight is a story about an old clown, personified by Chaplin, whose best days have passed and a young ballet dancer who asks for his help after failing to commit suicide.
This was Chaplin’s last film in America, and in its time, his less appreciated film. Of course, that was mainly because of his banishment from the country and the scandal created by it.
When you watch this movie you realize this was meant to be Chaplin’s Requiem, he’s fame was declining and the American government was trying to get rid of him in any way possible. He put all his effort to make this film, to show the world who he was, in other words, he put a part of his soul in Limelight.
About his character, called “Calvero”, it represents the last days of the defeated man who he always was (in the movies). The man who doesn´t know how to live in the present world, the man who always is late, who never has luck, who always is treated like a pile of garbage. The only difference between Calvero and Charlot (“the tramp”) is hope. Calvero has no hope left in life while Charlot is always full of hope. Calvero tries to recover his fame but he doesn’t believe he’s gonna make it.
Until he meets the ballet dancer, she gives him a reason to live, she brings a little joy to his life and the opportunity to be an artist again. This brings us to the scene from the picture above, a picture that represents an entire world for the story of cinema, we have Chaplin preparing himself in the front, and behind him: Buster Keaton.
Keaton, one of the greatest of the twenties appears here as a vagabond musician who performs with Calvero. Chaplin and Keaton only appeared in one film together and it was this one. It’s very sad to see them at the end of their careers, two idols of the past in probably their last film.
What always impressed me of Chaplin was his way of writing, he had a very rich and philosophical way of doing it. Some of the best quotes of the film are:
1. “ What do you want meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning. Desire is the theme of all life!”
2. “Time is the best author. It always writes the perfect ending.”
3. “I believe I’m dying, doctor. Then, I don’t know. I’ve died so many times.”
I truly recommend this movie to anyone who has watched some other Chaplin movies or has read his autobiography, to understand the true meaning of the film.