Limelight [1952]

Certainly, Charlie Chaplin at this point in his career (1952) had earned the right to reflect on his years as an entertainer, and could make his film as overlong and soppy and sentimental as he darn well pleased. But that doesn't mean the rest of us have to abet this kind of melodramatic indulgence. Chaplin stars as Calvero, a fading clown who helps a paralyzed dancer regain the use of her legs and achieve great fame, but of course at grave cost to Calvero. The film is famous for featuring the only onscreen teaming of Chaplin with the other legendary comic of the silent era, Buster Keaton, and is equally infamous for Chaplin having allegedly cut out most of Keaton's best bits in their sequence together. How much Chaplin sabotaged his own movie to keep Keaton from shining has been much debated, but consider: In Keaton's autobiography, he calls Chaplin the greatest screen comic of all time. In Chaplin's autobiography, he never mentions Keaton. --David Kronke

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