Criterion Releases Limelight

The Criterion Collection’s latest Chaplin release is the long-awaited Blu-ray of LIMELIGHT. Chaplin’s homage to his music hall roots has been digitally restored by the Cineteca di Bologna in a new 4K digital restoration.

Some of the bonus features from the DVD have been included on the Blu-ray, including the 2002 documentary Chaplin Today: “Limelight,” an audio recording of Chaplin reading two short excerpts from his novella Footlights (the basis for the film), a deleted scene, two trailers, and the uncompleted 1919 short The Professor.

Limelight Criterion Blu-ray

New features include Chaplin’s “Limelight”: Its Evolution and Intimacy, a video essay by Charlie Chaplin biographer David Robinson; interviews with actors Claire Bloom and Norman Lloyd; the 1915 short A Night in the Show; and a 40-page booklet featuring an essay by critic Peter von Bagh and excerpts from an on-set piece by journalist Henry Gris. The home movies, and photo and poster galleries that were also featured on the DVD have not been ported over to the Blu-ray.

But most disturbing, at least for fans of Chaplin’s Oscar-winning score, is the decision not to include the DVD’s bonus isolated score and effects track. Since no soundtrack has ever been released of the score, the DVD bonus was the only way to hear the music on its own. I’m not sure why this was left off the Blu-ray release. Hopefully, it means Association Chaplin has plans for a digital release as they have done with other Chaplin scores.

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