The Circus: The Chaplin Collection (Two Disc Special Edition)
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot is fairly straightforward -- Tramp joins circus, falls in love, tries to vanquish a rival suitor, then (in an ending of typical Chaplinian pathos) arranges for the rival suitor to get the girl. However, Chaplin packs the story with enough gags, extended jokes, and visual tricks to keep the film moving at a frenetic pace, even in its moments of sweetness.
The setting of the circus naturally lends itself to plenty of comic elements, and Chaplin makes the most of them in some unexpected ways. For example, there's the expected Locked In The Cage with The Sleeping Lion joke (which has subsequently and successfully been played to the hilt in Bugs Bunny cartoons), but Chaplin gives it a graceful twist with the addition of a pan of water that'll have you on the edge of your seat as he tries frantically not to drop it.
But Chaplin doesn't just use the circus to showcase gags -- he also uses the trappings to advance some extended and complicated jokes. The opening moments of the film, for example, feature the Tramp being mistaken for a pickpocket. After a full-out chase, the Tramp, the real pickpocket, and a policeman finally end up in a funhouse, complete with animated figures and a hall of mirrors. At this point, there are two wonderful visual jokes -- the first involves the Tramp's inability to pick up a dropped hat in a hall of mirrors(in what must have been an excrutiatingly technical shot to avoid reflecting the camera.) Chaplin, ever the perfectionist, executes the scene brilliantly.Read more ›
In the story, Charlie Chaplin does his normally-great physical slapstick so well that he accidentally becomes a hit at the circus, which is run by a nasty man (Allan Garcia) who regularly beats his sweet step-daughter, played by a very pretty Merna Kennedy. Charlie, of course, gets smitten by her and comes to her rescue.
This movie has a different kind of ending that what you'd normally see for a comedy but it's inspiring as Chaplin performs a noble deed.
Chaplin's timing and clever slapstick routines never fail to amaze me. Even though silent films aren't seen by many people these days, it's works of art like this that will endure forever. This is not of one of Chaplin's more famous movies.....but it should be. I think it's one of his best.
"The Circus" is less well known because the film was not available from shortly after completing it's first release in 1928 until the early 70's, when it was finally re-released. It's re-release brought it to a new audience, who had some knowledge of the film, but not enough to truly value it.
The plot is rather simple - Chaplin's Tramp character stumbles into a failing circus, and is chased by police into the big top, where his chase is the funniest thing to have happened during the whole show. The Tramp is hired at the circus, who's cruel director doesn't let him know how popular he is. The director is generally cruel, abusing his daughter, yelling at everyone, and being generally mean. The girl is in love with a tightrope artist, the Tramp falls in love with the girl, and the film ends with the gril married to the tightrope artist and the Tramp staying behind.
The plot is fleshed out by some of the funniest screen moments that Chaplin would ever come up with. He tries to be a tightrope walker. He gets caught in a funhouse with a crook who is trying to steal from him and a police officer who thinks that he is the real crook. He breaks up a magicians act in the middle of the big top. He gets stuck in a cage with a lion.
Okay, I'm not doing ANY justice to this great film. My review is not funny - the film is.
The film was meticulously restored by David Shepherd, and was released in 1999 on DVD. This DVD is now out of print, and a new on will be issued next year, though likely without the corrections and restorations by Shepherd. This is a shame, since the 1999 DVD includes outtakes and a properly restored opening. The quality is superb, and there are few hints as to the film's age.
I highly recommend this disc!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of Charlie's best works. I love it and it waseems both funny and sad.Published 2 months ago by Zgamesandmore
This could quite possibly be the funniest movie I have ever seen. Also I really liked the story line.Published 4 months ago by Salvio
Great Film, One of Chaplin's finest comedies. That said, this disc has some limitations: For one thing it's region locked (B), meaning you will need a PC with a region free blu-ray... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kenny ,.
I mean it's Chaplin; he's a genius. This is truly one of my favorite films.Published 7 months ago by SR
You just don't know what you are missing until you try a Chaplin movie. They are still funny today. My kids are 12 and 8 and loved it too.Published 7 months ago by TuckerVC
This is a great movie I enjoy this more than the Gold Rush. Be careful the 2 disc DVDs will not play properly in any Blu Ray player. Read morePublished 9 months ago by scott
I'm not a fan of Mr. Chaplin. I got the video to forensically analyze the unedited premiere sequence which was claimed on the internet to be a 'time traveler using a cell phone'. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Rick Tavares
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