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Footlights – Charlie Chaplin’s only known novella – has been published, 66 years after it was written.

Footlights – the basis for his 1952 film Limelight – has been reconstructed by Charlie Chaplin’s biographer, David Robinson.

Drafts of the work were uncovered in the Chaplin archive at the Cineteca di Bologna in Italy.

The novella will be launched on Tuesday at BFI Southbank in London during an event to mark the centenary of Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp character.

Footlights is 70 pages long and contains around 34,000 words. It took Charlie Chaplin around three years to adapt his book into a film script.

It is being published as part of a larger book called The World of Limelight, compiled and written by David Robinson.

Footlights novella was the basis for Charlie Chaplin’s 1952 film Limelight

Footlights novella was the basis for Charlie Chaplin’s 1952 film Limelight

Limelight is considered by many to be one of Charlie Chaplin’s last great films.

It tells the story of a clown – played by Charlie Chaplin – who saves a dancer (Claire Bloom) from suicide and helps her resume her dancing career.

It includes a sequence where Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, who plays Chaplin’s stage partner, appear on screen together – the only time they did so.

Claire Bloom will appear at Tuesday’s event alongside David Robinson, author of many books about Charlie Chaplin’s life and work.

After Limelight, Claire Bloom was named best newcomer at the 1953 BAFTAs and went on to appear with Richard Burton in Look Back in Anger (1956) and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965).

The Cineteca di Bologna’s digitization of the vast Charlie Chaplin archive comprises more than 100,000 documents.

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