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Limelight Blu-ray Review

Limelight Blu-ray

“Limelight” is yet another Charles Chaplin classic.

Charlie Chaplin was undoubtedly best known for his lovable Tramp character, but he also made several non Tramp gems. “Limelight” is one of those gems.

The story of “Limelight” revolves around Calvero who was once a beloved comedic stage entertainer, but has now become an aging drunk who lives in a London flat. After coming home drunk one day, he saves a young ill wannabe ballerina (Thereza) from a suicide attempt. As she recuperates at Calvero’s home, she and Calvero become friends and manage to help one another in their struggling lives. Eventually, both of them get a big break in a new show together with Calvero playing a clown and Thereza playing a ballerina. Amidst Calvero’s attempted comeback and Thereza’s blossoming career, Thereza confesses her love to Calvero. Calvero, however, believes she is better off with a youthful composer (Neville). Will the two find love together? What will become of their careers? That is what this film explores.

For those expecting “Limelight” to be a laugh riot in the vein of “The Gold Rush,” you will be sorely disappointed. Chaplin’s 1952 film is largely a drama with some comedic bits thrown in here and there. On top of that, the film is less of a fictional piece and more of a personal film for Chaplin (who wrote, directed, and starred in this). In fact, the movie often films like a cinematic memoir or biography of his life as he delves into ideas and themes of age, love, life, redemption, comedy, and, of course, the entertainment industry. Chaplin himself also gives a very soulful and heartfelt performance as Calvero. It really looks and feels like he gave this role his all.

Chaplin isn’t the only star here as there are two other memorable performers. First and foremost, Claire Bloom (Thereza) gives a touching and sweet performance as the conflicted ballerina with a heart of gold. She really plays off of Chaplin so well and is entirely believable in the role. Last, but not least, there is a fitting and charming extended cameo by silent comedy legend Buster Keaton. Not only is it truly rewarding to see Chaplin and Keaton share scenes (and a major comedic set piece) together, but it’s entirely moving in the context of the film.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? A pristine new 4K restoration. It’s astonishing how crystal clear this B&W print looks.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? A crisp track. No cracks or pops here.

Extras:
* A thick booklet featuring credits and an essay by critic Peter Von Bagh and journalist Henry Gris.
* “Limelight” trailers.
* A deleted scene.
* Interviews with Claire Bloom and Norman Lloyd.
* “Chaplin Today: Limelight”- An engrossing 26 minute special about the film that includes interviews, film clips, archival footage, information about his life and childhood, behind-the-scenes tidbits about “Limelight,” and more.
* “Charlie Chaplin Reads From Footlights”- Chaplin reads segments from his story that “Limelight” was based off of- “Footlights”
* “Chaplin’s Limelight”- A featurette about “Limelight” by knowledgeable Chaplin biographer David Robinson.
* 2 of Chaplin’s short films titled “A Night In The Show” and “The Professor” (which was uncompleted).

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July 15, 2015 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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