Intended as a tragicomedy, if not a tearjerker, it is a two-thirds bore that comes to life in the last half-hour or so, when the old-master clown stops trying to be pathetic and reverts to his inimitable proper stuff.
Limelight seems stuck in time, even for 1952. The un-ironic pathos and sentimental humanism seems almost quaint in the post-Hitler world. But that's Chaplin for you - a man who lived by, and wrote, his own rules.
Premiering in 1952 when Chaplin was 63 years old, this melancholy reverie is a heartfelt expression of nostalgia for the Edwardian London music-halls of his youth, rich with deeply personal sentiment and warmly realized autobiographical fantasy.