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Circus (Full Screen)

Charles Chaplin , Merna Kennedy , Charles Chaplin    Unrated   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 129.55
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Product Description

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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

Product Description

The Little Tramp brings his slapstick hijinks to the big top. Charlie Chaplin's film "The Circus" begins in a fading circus, where the equestrienne (Merna Kennedy) can't jump the hoops and the clowns can't make the audience laugh. Outside on the midway, The Little Tramp falls into a series of wonderful comic routines that end when, pursued by a cop, he bursts into the tent's center ring and wows the audience. The circus owner/ringmaster (Allan Garcia) auditions The Little Tramp as a clown but discovers he is only funny when he isn't trying. He tricks The Little Tramp into joining the circus as a prop man who wreaks havoc with whatever he does and who unknowingly becomes the star of the show.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Problematic Chaplin Aug. 13 1999
Format:VHS Tape
"The Circus" is a decidedly strange effort from Charlie Chaplin. His last silent film focuses on the aspect of a clown's success and failure -- a theme that worked to better advantage in Chaplin's "Limelight." There are a few highlights, particularly the classic funhouse chase, yet the overall movie seems forced and a bit too melodramatic. No wonder Chaplin kept "The Circus" out of circulation for more than 40 years -- he knew it was lacking. The same goes for the accompanying two-reeler, "A Day's Pleasure," which is one of the Chaplin's weakest shorts and a significant comedown from his groundbreaking work at Mutual. In retrospect, neither film shows Chaplin at his absolute best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite of all Chaplin films March 23 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Of all the films I've watched of Charlie Chaplin this has got to be my most favorite comedy of his and definitly needs to be saved from obscurity . It's both a drama and comedy and has lots of pantomime and slapstick . The story goes like this , Charlie goes to the circus and is mistaken for a pickpocket . He tries to escape from the police by entering a mirror maze ( I wonder how Charlie pulled off this camera trick ) and pretends to be one of those mechanical dummies . He then gets chased into the big top where he causes a roar of laughter to the audience that has been bored out by the ringmasters so called entertainment . The ringmaster soon realizes that this tramp character is what he needs for his circus so he gives him a trial and lets Charlie show off his funny`material which to the ringmaster is not funny. The only time the tramp is funny is when he tries not to be so the ring master hires Charlie to be a property with pretty good results . The tramp falls in love with the ringmaster's abused step daughter . Merna( the ringmaster's stepdaughter ) soon finds love with the circus's new attraction Rex the " King of Air " a.k.a. tightrope walker . The movie is very funny and is filled with gags such as Charlie on the tightrope being harrassed by monkeys pulling his pants down , biting his nose , and sticking their tails in his mouth . What's really interesting about this scene is that when you look at the expression on his face it's pretty sad , its charlie struggling through his perosonal life . He can't escape from all this trouble just like he could'nt escape from his divorce with his second wife Lita grey , his money problems , his mother's death and problems with stage fires all during the making of this film . Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great film March 9 2004
By jethro
Format:DVD
often overlooked between The Gold Rush and City Lights, which bracketed it in Charlie's catalog. I'd neber seen this one until now, but I think it's probably the strongest of Charlie's straightforward slapstick films. He really didn't try this sort of thing in the later part of his career, so it's cool to get a chance to see him do it with the technical progress that had been made since his early days at keystone.
And Merna Kennedy may very well be the most beautiful woman to ever live. It's a shame she died so young.
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By Nix Pix
Format:DVD
The Circus is one of those slapstick comedy classics that is so charming in its reverence to "the Big Top" that it transcends time with each and every viewing. Chaplin is, of course, fleeing the police yet again and this time his escape leads him to a circus where he easily becomes one of the funniest acts.
TRANSFER: Warner/MK2 give us a beautifully rendered B&W picture that, although showing signs of age related wear and tear, nevertheless enthralls in each and every frame. Film grain is kept to a minimum. Blacks - for the most part, are deep and solid. The gray scale is nicely balanced. Occasionally there is some aliasing but it is minute and unobtrusive. The audio, as with all Chaplin movies, has been remastered to 5.1 with a nice spread across all 5 channels.
Extras:a documentary, deleted sequence, outtakes, three home movies, excerpts from "Circus Day" with Jackie Coogan, a photo gallery, film posters and trailers.
BOTTOM LINE: Another Chaplin classic to add to your growing film library!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny. Aug. 9 2002
By duke14
Format:VHS Tape
Along with Lucy, Chaplin is the only classic comedian I like. Okay, Three Stooges too. Anyway, alot of truth is shown in this movie, like when Chaplin is funny accidently as well as purposely. The donkey and the lion add humor to the film, as well as the horse and the pill. Chaplin does something most people wouldn't in this film, and that would be marry off the girl he loves to someone else because their in love. He works in the circus for awhile but then he believes he must go back to his tramp life. This is a funny side of Chaplin that classic movie likers will enjoy.
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