Anjuli_Bai Posted April 21, 2013 Share Posted April 21, 2013 Last night we watched a DVD of Charles Chaplin's tour de force: "Limelight." I had seen the film many years ago and it has always lingered in my mind. What a towering talent he was. Chaplin wrote this story as a full book size novel. Then he wrote the screenplay. He composed the music for which he won an Oscar. The theme song is a river of romantic lyricism -- perfect for the story. It can be heard here: In the final scene Prima Ballerina Melissa Hayden's dancing to it is hauntingly beautiful. He also directed the film. He produced the film. He choreographed (with Eglevsky) the dance scenes. He plays the violin. I don't know if he was actually able to do this - but if not one would never know it - his stance and hands are perfectly those of a violinist (at least to my eyes). And, then, he starred in the film both as a serious acting role and as a serious comedic role. Though the story is about the necessity to exit the stage because of age, Chaplin, himself, is still a marvel of grace and strength - fully in control of all the elements of performance - his body still his to command. In several sequences - as when his legs seem to grow and shorten spontaneously while playing the violin - one is transfixed by his art. The film stars a lovely Claire Bloom. All of Chaplin's family have roles in the film. Chaplin was from the beginning of his career in love with dance - especially the ballet. It is because of him that we have film clips of Anna Pavlova. In "Limelight" the beautiful Prima Ballerina Melissa Hayden, principal of NYCB, stands in for the dance sequences of Bloom's character. The transitions between Bloom and Hayden are cleverly done and only once for a second or two does one detect that Claire is not a dancer. It is in the scene where Bloom, costumed in tutu and pointe shoes, rises to pointe before entering the stage - at which point Hayden takes over. But for that split second as Bloom rises to pointe, those of us who dance can detect that the rise to pointe is not the foot of a dancer. It lasts but a blink of an eye. Hayden is subime - she is young, strong and lovely. She is partnered by Andre Eglevsky and he, too, is a pleasure. Her strength allows her to melt into the weeping music. I see her now as I type this. Chaplin came from a childhood that even Dickens in his worst literary nightmares would have difficulty conjuring. Out of this nether world of poverty and insanity - with no training - comes this man of multiple talents - to this day a giant of the stage. If you haven't seen "Limelight" - do. And, if you have - perhaps give yourself the pleasure again. 9 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now