Made in 1928 while he was in the middle of a painful divorce case, Charlie Chaplin's The Circus was so associated with bad memories for its maker that he refused even to mention it in his 1964 autobiography. Consequently, it has enjoyed less of a reputation than such films as The Gold Rush (1925) and City Lights (1931). However, while it's not quite in their league, The Circus undoubtedly deserves to be rescued from relative obscurity. Here, Chaplin's Tramp is taken on as a clown at the circus, having been chased into the big tent by a policeman wrongly suspected of theft and wowing the audience with his pratfalls. He falls in love with the ill-treated ringmaster's daughter (Merna Kennedy) but is swiftly rivaled by a new addition to the circus, a handsome tightrope walker. To try to win back her affections, the Tramp himself attempts the same act, culminating in the best sequence of the film, when he is assailed by monkeys as he totters amateurishly and precariously along a rope suspended high in the tent. Although The Circus is marred by the rather hackneyed and (even in 1928) stale melodramatic device of the cruel father and imploring daughter, it scores high on its slapstick content, with routines involving a hall of mirrors and a mishap with a magician's equipment demonstrating Chaplin's dazzling ability to choreograph apparently improvised mayhem. --David Stubbs

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The Circus (1928)

Unrated

Family/Romance/Drama/Comedy · 1h 12m · 11/16/1928

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The Circus is Here!

Description

Made in 1928 while he was in the middle of a painful divorce case, Charlie Chaplin's The Circus was so associated with bad memories for its maker that he refused even to mention it in his 1964 autobiography. Consequently, it has enjoyed less of a reputation than such films as The Gold Rush (1925) and City Lights (1931). However, while it's not quite in their league, The Circus undoubtedly deserves to be rescued from relative obscurity. Here, Chaplin's Tramp is taken on as a clown at the circus, having been chased into the big tent by a policeman wrongly suspected of theft and wowing the audience with his pratfalls. He falls in love with the ill-treated ringmaster's daughter (Merna Kennedy) but is swiftly rivaled by a new addition to the circus, a handsome tightrope walker. To try to win back her affections, the Tramp himself attempts the same act, culminating in the best sequence of the film, when he is assailed by monkeys as he totters amateurishly and precariously along a rope suspended high in the tent. Although The Circus is marred by the rather hackneyed and (even in 1928) stale melodramatic device of the cruel father and imploring daughter, it scores high on its slapstick content, with routines involving a hall of mirrors and a mishap with a magician's equipment demonstrating Chaplin's dazzling ability to choreograph apparently improvised mayhem. --David Stubbs

Where to Watch

Status

Released

Language

English

Country

United States

Production Company

United Artists

Budget

$900,000

Revenue

$27,410
Part Of
Cast
Person Photo

Al Ernest Garcia

The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master (as Allan Garcia)
Person Photo

Merna Kennedy

His Step-daughter, A Circus Rider
Person Photo

Harry Crocker

Rex, A Tight Rope Walker / Disgruntled Property Man / Clown
Person Photo

George Davis

A Magician
Person Photo

Henry Bergman

An Old Clown
Person Photo

Tiny Sandford

The Head Property Man (as Stanley J. Sandford)
Person Photo

John Rand

An Assistant Property Man / Clown
Person Photo

Steve Murphy

A Pickpocket
Person Photo

Charles Chaplin

A Tramp (as Charlie Chaplin)
Person Photo

Albert Austin

Clown (uncredited)
Person Photo

Charles A. Bachman

Cop (uncredited)
Person Photo

Eugene Barry

Cop (uncredited)
Person Photo

Jack Bernard

Man in Circus Audience (uncredited)
Person Photo

Stanley Blystone

Cop (uncredited)
Person Photo

Heinie Conklin

Clown (uncredited)
Person Photo

Bill Knight

Cop (uncredited)
Person Photo

Toraichi Kono

Man in Circus Audience (unconfirmed) (uncredited)
Person Photo

H.L. Kyle

Man in Circus Audience (uncredited)
Person Photo

Betty Morrissey

The Vanishing Lady (uncredited)
Person Photo

L.J. O'Connor

Cop (uncredited)
Person Photo

Jack P. Pierce

Man Operating Ropes (uncredited)
Person Photo

Hugh Saxon

Man in Circus Audience (uncredited)
Person Photo

Armand Triller

Clown (uncredited)
Person Photo

Max Tyron

Pickpocket Victim (uncredited)
Crew
Person Photo

Charles Chaplin

Director
Person Photo

Charles Chaplin

Writer
Person Photo

Charles Chaplin

Music
Person Photo

Charles Chaplin

Editor
Person Photo

Roland Totheroh

Cinematograpy
Disc Releases
Disc Title Front Cover

The Circus

(DVD)

3/2/2004

Disc Title Front Cover

The Circus

(DVD, Keep Case (Std.))

9/24/2019

$17.28 -$12.67 (42%)

Disc Title Front Cover

The Circus

(DVD)

Disc Title Front Cover

The Circus

(DVD, Digipack)

3/2/2004

Disc Title Front Cover

The Circus

(DVD)

2/8/2000

Disc Title Front Cover

The Circus

(Blu-ray, Keep Case (HD, Low))

9/24/2019

$21.76 -$18.19 (46%)

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