The Circus (restored 35mm print!)

After The Gold Rush made him an even bigger star than he previously was, Chaplin focused the subject matter of his follow-up film inwards, turning the spotlight on the act of comedy-making itself.  The Circus finds The Tramp running afoul of the law and hiding out within the confines of a travelling three-ring operation; barging in during the middle of a performance, the Tramp inadvertently displays astounding comic skills on the stage, and becomes the circus’s new hottest act.  This deceptively simple set-up gives Chaplin one of his greatest possibility-laden canvases, one onto which he projects a fantastic run of iconic, beautifully executed comic set-pieces: the funhouse hall-of-mirrors chase, the monkey-laden tightrope walk, and his perilous, hilarious stint stuck in the lion cage.  As well, The Circus’s core romance, between Chaplin and co-star Merna Kennedy, is possibly his most realistic and bittersweet, lending a fittingly somber farewell to what Chaplin had (in the end, falsely) assumed would be his final silent. The show kicks off with the classic 1922 Chaplin short Pay Day!
The Circus Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1928, 35mm, 70 min.
Pay Day Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1922, 35mm, 28 min.

Watch the classic “monkey tightrope” scene from “The Circus”!
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