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The Circus: The Chaplin Collection (Two Disc Special Edition)

4.6 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

When we first meet Chaplin's Tramp in this comic gem, he's in typical straits: broke, hungry, destined to fall in love and just as sure to lose the girl. Mistaken for a pickpocket and pursued by a peace officer into a circus tent, the Tramp becomes a star when delighted patrons think his escape from John Law is an act. Classic highlights include a frenetic fun-house sequence, the Tramp turning a magic skit into mayhem and his teetering tightrope walk while monkeys cling to his head. This is comedy without a net!

Special Features

  • Introduction by David Robinson, Chaplin biographer
  • 'Chaplin Today: The Circus,' documentary by Francois Ede Deleted 10-minute sequence 'October 7-13, 1926,' Outtakes from a week of shooting Three home movies from the archives of Lord Louis Mountbatten 'The Hollywood Premiere (1928),' Reportage on the L.A. premiere 'Camera A, Camera B,' shots made simultaneously from the two cameras used 3-D Test footage by Roland Totheroh Excerpts from 'Circus Day' with Jackie Coogan -- an adaptation of a favorite children's book Photo gallery, film posters, trailers, interactive menus, and scene access

Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin, Merna Kennedy, Al Ernest Garcia, Harry Crocker, George Davis
  • Directors: Charles Chaplin
  • Writers: Charles Chaplin
  • Producers: Charles Chaplin
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 71 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00017LVMS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,049 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Circus: The Chaplin Collection (Two Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
It doesn't have the raw sentiment of CITY LIGHTS or the social relevance of either MODERN TIMES or THE GREAT DICTATOR, but for pure laugh-out-loud moments, THE CIRCUS is probably Chaplin's finest straight-ahead comedy.
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.
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Format: DVD
I enjoyed this a lot more the second time when I could see it on a very clear DVD print. I don't know why that would make a difference with the story, but it did as I found it very good for the entire distance, although that's just a scant 69 minutes. The special two-disc edition does this film justice.

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.
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Format: DVD
While perhaps not up to quite the same fine level as, say, 'City Lights' or 'Monsieur Verdoux,' this film is a small minor masterpiece in its own right, and frequently cited as Chaplin's most underrated film. Viewing the film, it's hard to believe that the filming experience was such a nightmare, what with things like fires, heavy rains, theft, and Chaplin's messy divorce from his second wife. Generally speaking, Chaplin's features seem to have a bit more drama than endless gags (not that that makes them any less powerful or classic), with the focus being on the narrative storyline and not just a series of funny incidents, but this film rather plays like one of his earlier short subjects, where the laughs were far more frequent. The storyline is simple enough: The Tramp, on the run from the police yet again, even though he didn't really do anything that terribly wrong, eventually stumbles into a circus that's come to town. He makes friends with the horribly mistreated daughter of the circus owner, and falls in love with her, but like in just about all of his films, this love too is unrequited. The pretty bareback rider really loves Rex, the new tightrope walker. While in the circus, Charlie has all sorts of comic misadventures, most famously in the scene where the monkeys are climbing all over him while he's on the tightrope after he's accidentally lost the hidden wire that was keeping him balanced. After this latest mishap, it seems as though his future in the circus is over, though with the scheme he then hatches, things might not be so lost after all.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Both "The Gold Rush" and "City Lights" are accepted as ciname classics, classic comedy films made by Chalrie Chaplin. In between is a much less known work, "The Circus".
"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!
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