Aug 5, 2008

Limelight

I’m not a great fan of Chaplin’s. My memory of The Gold Rush is that it is very funny, and I rather enjoyed Modern Times. I find some of Chaplin’s mannerisms effeminate, and while The Great Dictator is a terrific satire, I’m afraid its politics do boil down to a rather naive “Why can’t we all get along?” approach. As for Monsieur Verdoux, its reflections on capitalism and war are not worth talking about.

Limelight has Chaplin’s sentimentality, but also has a Marxist/materialist substrate as well. When Chaplin tells Claire Bloom’s character all the reasons she should live, he does not give her anything like a religious reason, or even a very good reason to live. He gives out a lot of nonsense about the sun and the stars, but as for a reason not to commit suicide, nothing very memorable.