Produced by Charlie Chaplin
Written by Charlie Chaplin
Starring Charlie Chaplin
Al Ernest Garcia
Music by Günter Kochan (1969)
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) January 6, 1928
Running time 70 min
Country United States
Language Silent film
Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus is one of his most underrated films. It is not as renowned as some of his other masterpieces such as The Gold Rush, City Lights or Modern Times, which is a shame as it is a very funny film. There were actually a few scenes which made me ‘laugh out loud’, whilst it is very easy to see the influence that this film and Chaplin has had on every other film comedian since 1928.
One thing that I appreciated was that I was easily able to empathise with the Tramp in his jealousy and his unrequited love for the girl, who naturally, only has eyes for the dashing young tightrope walker. Charlie agrees to walk the tightrope himself after the tightrope walker doesn’t turn up to perform, so he can prove his love for the girl even if it kills him. This is a very funny scene and something many guys, including myself, can empathise with. We’ve all done something stupid or dangerous just to get a girl to notice us! Seeing the Tramp up on the wire with monkeys climbing all over him is just hilarious, even now, 82 years after the films first release.
One thing I like about this film is that Chaplin is not trying to make a grand statement or a great melodrama like his other films. It is not overly sentimental like a lot of his later films either. The film is not a dusty old relic or nostalgic look at how things used to be like Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr., it is still very funny as it deals with something that is still relatable today, unrequited love. I know that many people such as Woody Allen see Chaplin as being over-rated but The Circus shows why he is the best of the silent movie comedians. Unlike his other films there is no giant serving of sentimentality or pathos, just lots of laughs and funny gags.
- Mashing Chaplin [r i c h a r d p e r r y] (ecademy.com)
- MM@M: Charlie Chaplin and The Sad Clown. (filmexperience.blogspot.com)
- Film: Newswire: Early Charlie Chaplin film uncovered (avclub.com)
- 14 reviews of Buster Keaton (rateitall.com)
- Why I’m now a happy Chaplin fan (guardian.co.uk)
- “The Circus”: Chaplin’s little-known masterpiece (salon.com)
- Early Charlie Chaplin Short Discovered in Antique Sale (cinematical.com)
- 8 reviews of Charles (Charlie) Chaplin (rateitall.com)
- Long lost Charlie Chaplin film found at antiques fair (telegraph.co.uk)
- Modern Times, DVD review (telegraph.co.uk)