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The Circus

The Circus

Charles Chaplin
 Cast: Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
, Allan Garcia
Allan Garcia
, Henry Bergman
Henry Bergman
, Merna Kennedy
Merna Kennedy

Blu-ray (Black & White)

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The Circus is generally considered to be a lesser Charlie Chaplin effort, coming as it does between two unquestioned masterpieces, The Gold Rush (1925) and City Lights (1931). To be sure, the film is not one of Chaplin's best, but it has a lot going for it. Director Chaplin casts star Chaplin in his traditional "Little Tramp" role, who when first we see him is on the lam from the law. He takes refuge under the tent of a failing circus. Unintentionally, Charlie disrupts the show's big clown act, and the crowd roars. The ringmaster decides to hire Charlie as a clown, building the whole circus around him. Charlie has many an adventure and close shave while performing under the Big Top, the best of which involves a tightrope, a broken support wire, and a playful monkey. The standard Chaplin pathos rears its head when Charlie falls in love with pretty tightrope walker Merna Kennedy. When sweet Merna chooses handsome Harry Crocker, Charlie is left alone once more--but, with a characteristic shrug, he shuffles into the horizon and onto his next adventure. The Circus has several gaping logic holes which tend to pull the film down (we're supposed to believe, for example, that Charlie is unaware that he's a sensation as a clown, even after several weeks of performing before appreciative audiences), but the film contains several excellent setpieces, including a Hall of Mirrors sequence which anticipates Orson Welles' more serious Lady From Shanghai climax by twenty years. The Circus won Chaplin a special Oscar in 1928, then lay unseen for forty-two years; it was reissued in 1970, with a new musical score by Chaplin himself (who can be heard singing the theme song in the opening scenes).

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Product Details

Release Date: 09/24/2019
UPC: 0715515235013
Original Release: 1928
Source: Criterion Collection
Region Code: A
Presentation: [B&W]
Time: 1:12:00
Sales rank: 11,690

Special Features

New 4k digital restoration of Charlie Chaplin's 1969 rerelease version of the film, featuring an original score by CChaplin, with uncompresssed monaural soundtrack; New Audio Commentary featuring Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance; Interview with Chaplin from 1969; New interview with Chaplin's son Eugene Chaplin; In the Service of the Story, a new program on the film's visual effects and production design by film scholar Criag Barron; Chaplin Today: "The Circus," a 2003 documentary on the film featuring filmmaker Emir Kusturica; Excerpted audio interview from 1998 with Chaplin musical associate Eric James; Unused cafe sequence new score by computer Timothy Brock, and related outtakes with narration by comedy choroegrapher Dan Kamin; Newly discovered outtakes featuring the Tramp and the circus rider; Excerpts from the original recording session for the film's opening song, "Swing Little Girl" ; Footage of the film's 1928 Hollywood premiere; Rerelease trailers; Plus: An essay by critic Pamela Hutchinson

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Chaplin The Tramp
Allan Garcia Circus Owner
Henry Bergman The Old Clown
Merna Kennedy Equestrian
Harry Crocker Rex, the Tightrope Walker
John Rand Assistant Property Man
Stanley "Tiny" Sandford The Head Property Man
George Davis Magician
Steve Murphy The Pickpocket
Betty Morrissey The Vanishing Lady

Technical Credits
Charles Chaplin Director,Score Composer,Cinematographer,Editor,Producer,Screenwriter
Harry Crocker Asst. Director
Charles Hall Production Designer
Roland H. "Rollie" Totheroh Cinematographer

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