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Pinko Dramedy

While overseas promoting his film Limelight, Charlie Chaplin was banned from re-entering the United States by that persnickety cross-dresser, J. Edgar Hoover. Chaplin’s offense had nothing to do with the 1952 film, however, which follows a washed-up stage clown who saves another performer from suicide. No, it was Monsieur Verdoux, his 1947 film in which capitalism makes an already psycho banker delirious with greed. (A Bernie Madoff prophecy?) As a consequence, the apolitical Limelight was blackballed in American theaters and didn’t receive wide distribution until 1972. It then won an Oscar for best score, which Chaplin composed himself, but continues to be an underappreciated project in the film icon’s oeuvre. Now, Janus Films, Emerging Pictures, and Chaplin’s estate have just made all of the Little Tramp’s films available in high-definition digital restorations. See Limelight’s HD premiere at Miami Beach Cinematheque. The film stars Chaplin’s children and wife and boasts a cameo by Buster Keaton — the only time the two appear on celluloid together. Arrive early to gawk at Chaplin memorabilia from the MBC archive, which founder Dana Keith has been collecting since he was 8 years old.
Thu., March 24, 8 p.m., 2011


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