Charles Chaplin Limelight screening to feature Claire Bloom
Charles Chaplin’s Limelight turns 60 this year. Honoring Chaplin’s last US-made film, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a 60th anniversary screening of Limelight on Wednesday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. As an installment of the Jack Oakie Celebration of Comedy in Film — even though Limelight is sheer melodrama — the evening will feature Chaplin "discovery" Claire Bloom and actor Norman Lloyd, who has a supporting role in the film. (Photo: Claire Bloom, Charles Chaplin Limelight.)
Set in the London music halls of the 1910s, Limelight was made shortly before Chaplin was barred from reentering the United States because of his political affiliations. Claire Bloom, then 20 years old and in her first important film role, already displays the qualities that would make her one of the best film (and stage) actresses of the last six decades. Other notable Limelight performers are Buster Keaton, who briefly shares the screen with his fellow silent era superstar comedian; Charles Chaplin’s son Sydney Chaplin and young daughter Geraldine Chaplin; and several oldtimers, among them Stuart Holmes, Snub Pollard, and early Chaplin leading lady Edna Purviance.
Limelight: Oscar victory two decades later
Also worth noting is that Limelight earned Charles Chaplin the Academy Award for Best Original Music — twenty years after the film was made. The 1952 drama had its Los Angeles release in 1972, making it eligible for that year’s Academy Awards. After Nino Rota’s nominated The Godfather composition was declared ineligible — it was based on an older Rota score — Limelight was added to the roster of nominees, ultimately taking home the Oscar statuette.
Jack Oakie, I should add, was Chaplin’s sort-of foe in The Great Dictator. Tickets for Limelight are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.
Claire Bloom, Charles Chaplin Limelight photo: © Roy Export S.A.S.