Three Chaplin silent comedies "A Dog's Life", "Shoulder Arms", and "The Pilgrim" are strung together to form a single feature length film. Chaplin provides new music, narration, and a small... See full summary »
The Tramp finds himself at a circus where he is promptly chased around by the police who think he is a pickpocket. Running into the Bigtop, he is an accidental sensation with his hilarious efforts to elude the police. The circus owner immediately hires him, but discovers that the Tramp cannot be funny on purpose, so he takes advantage of the situation by making the Tramp a janitor who just happens to always be in the Bigtop at showtime. Unaware of this exploitation, the Tramp falls for the owner's lovely acrobatic stepdaughter, who is abused by her father. His chances seem good, until a dashing rival comes in and Charlie feels he has to compete with him. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Charles Chaplin wanted to include a scene involving a flea circus, but he couldn't justify putting it into the plot. It later resurfaced in Limelight (1952). See more »
While the Tramp is locked into the cage, the lion is lying with his head some distance from the side wall in most shots until he gets up. But in one close-up shot just after the Tramp caught the water tray, the lion's head is suddenly right next to that wall. See more »
Where's the funny man? Bring on the funny man!
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Do not be mislead by the ne'er do wells who claim this movie as Chaplin's weakest.
The plot is not intricate, but Charlie doesn't need an intricate plot to make us laugh out loud. "The Circus" proves this.
Saying that this film is boring is perfectly ridiculous: there are many moments of pure Chaplin genius and, if nothing else, you simply must see this film for the tightrope-walking scene. No, it's not trick photography: that's really Charlie tightrope walking with no stuntmen of any kind. If THAT'S not exciting, I don't know what is.
Oh, and just as a side note, this film was made during a time when Charlie was going through a very dirty and very public divorce-- his ex successful at having his funds frozen during the divorce, he was sued for a million in back-taxes and faced possible jail time, AND the ENTIRE SET to the circus burned down in a fire.
He most definitely deserved the special Oscar he received for this film. That's right: OSCAR.
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