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Chaplin’s Limelight and the Music Hall Tradition

Editorial Review of Chaplin’s Limelight and the Music Hall Tradition

Charles Spencer Chaplin was a stage performer before he was a filmmaker, and it was in English music hall that he learned the rudiments of his art. The last film he made in the United States, Limelight, was a tribute to the music hall days of his youth. As a parallel to Chaplin’s past, the film was set in 1914, the year he left the stage for a Hollywood career. This collection of essays examines Limelight and the history of English music hall. Featuring contributions from the world’s top Chaplin and music hall historians, as well as previously unpublished interviews with collaborators who worked on Limelight, the book offers new insight into one of Chaplin’s most important pictures and the British form of entertainment that inspired it. Essays consider how and why Chaplin made Limelight, other artists who came out of English music hall, and the film’s international appeal, among other topics. The book is filled with rare photographs, many published for the first time, sourced from the Chaplin archives and the private collections of other performers and co-stars.

About the Authors of Chaplin’s Limelight and the Music Hall Tradition

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Frank Scheide is associate professor of film history and criticism at the University of Arkansas. Co-editor Hooman Mehran is based in New York City. Associate editor Dan Kamin trained Robert Downey, Jr., for his Oscar-nominated performance in Chaplin.

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