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Trivia / Limelight

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  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $900,000. Box office, $1 million (US box office), $8 million (Worldwide). Its US release was halted by controversy over Charlie Chaplin's alleged Communist sympathies, which led to him being refused re-entry into the US while he was promoting the film in Britain. It got a wide US release twenty-years later, which included its first showing in Los Angeles, thus making it eligible for that year's Oscarsnote . It's since been Vindicated by History as one of Chaplin's finest films.
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  • Doubling for London: Although the film is set in London, it was entirely filmed in Hollywood, mostly at the Chaplin Studios. The street where Calvero lives was a redressed set at Paramount Studios, the music hall scenes were filmed at RKO, and some exterior scenes use back-projected footage of London.
  • Dueling-Stars Movie: Even though they're only together for one hilarious scene, this film was famous for finally putting two of the biggest stars of the silent film era, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, on the same stage.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: According to Buster Keaton's biographer Rudi Blesh, Charlie Chaplin eased his notoriously rigid directorial style to give Keaton free rein to invent his own comic business during this sequence.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Claire Bloom was cast as a ballet dancer without knowing a single step.
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  • Late Export for You: The film was pulled from distribution after Chaplin was denied re-admittance to the US for allegedly having communist sympathies. Filmed in 1952, finally released in the U.S. in 1972. It had already been released in Europe.
  • Pop Culture Urban Legends: A rumor has persisted, fueled by the intense rivalry among fans, that Buster Keaton gave such a superior performance that Charlie Chaplin jealously cut his scenes so he would not be upstaged by his rival. A close associate of Chaplin claimed that Chaplin not only did not feel threatened by Keaton's performance, but also heavily edited his own footage of the duet while enhancing Keaton's. Keaton's widow Eleanor said that he was thrilled with his appearance in the film, and believed that his business partner Raymond Rohauer started and fueled the rumors. Chaplin's son Sydney, who also appeared in the film, said that even if some of Keaton's best scenes were cut (which he did not believe), the storyline would not logically allow a supporting actor to suddenly appear and upstage the climactic comeback of Chaplin's character.
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  • Reality Subtext: Chaplin plays a once famous comedian who has lost his audience, which is pretty much what was happening in Chaplin's life when he made the film.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Neville, Calvero's rival, was played by Chaplin's son Sydney Chaplin, who is giving his film debut here.
    • The kids in the first scene, who tell Calvero his landlady isn't home, are Chaplin's own children.
  • Star-Making Role: This was the film that pushed Claire Bloom into the spotlight, her association with Laurence Olivier did the rest.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Chaplin originally thought this would be his last film, if it had it would've been a fitting way to end his career.
    • Chaplin originally wanted Audrey Hepburn to be his leading lady.
  • Write Who You Know: Chaplin biographers have assumed that his character in the film was based on his father Charles Chaplin, Sr. who had also lost his audience and became an alcoholic, which led to his death in 1901.


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