The Circus

“It is Chaplin’s great elegy to the lost art of music-hall pantomime and, for that matter, the soon-to-be lost art of silent-film comedy.” — Christian Blauvelt, Slant

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.
Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1928, 35mm, 72 min.

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