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The Circus
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The Circus (1928) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Director:
Writer:
Charles Chaplin (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Circus on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1928 (Turkey) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Charlie Chaplin in the Greatest Picture of His Entire Career... See more »
Plot:
The Tramp finds work and the girl of his dreams at a circus. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
The Circus (1928) See more (199 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Al Ernest Garcia ... The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master (as Allan Garcia)
Merna Kennedy ... His Step-Daughter - A Circus Rider
Harry Crocker ... Rex - A Tight Rope Walker
George Davis ... A Magician
Henry Bergman ... An Old Clown
Tiny Sandford ... The Head Property Man (as Stanley J. Sandford)
John Rand ... An Assistant Property Man
Steve Murphy ... A Pickpocket

Charles Chaplin ... A Tramp (as Charlie Chaplin)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Albert Austin ... Clown (uncredited)
Charles A. Bachman ... Cop (uncredited)
Eugene Barry ... Cop (uncredited)
Jack Bernard ... Man in Circus Audience (uncredited)
Stanley Blystone ... Cop (uncredited)
Heinie Conklin ... Clown (uncredited)
Bill Knight ... Cop (uncredited)
Toraichi Kono ... Man in Circus Audience (unconfirmed) (uncredited)
H.L. Kyle ... Man in Circus Audience (uncredited)
Betty Morrissey ... The Vanishing Lady (uncredited)
L.J. O'Connor ... Cop (uncredited)
Jack P. Pierce ... Man Operating Ropes (uncredited)
Hugh Saxon ... Man in Circus Audience (uncredited)
Doc Stone ... The Prizefighter (uncredited)
Armand Triller ... Clown (uncredited)
Max Tyron ... Pickpocket Victim (uncredited)
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Directed by
Charles Chaplin  (as Charlie Chaplin)
 
Writing credits
Charles Chaplin (written by) (as Charlie Chaplin)

Produced by
Charles Chaplin .... producer (as Charlie Chaplin)
 
Original Music by
Charles Chaplin (music composed by) (1969) (as Charlie Chaplin)
 
Cinematography by
Roland Totheroh (photography by) (as Rollie H. Totheroh)
 
Film Editing by
Charles Chaplin (uncredited)
 
Casting by
Al Ernest Garcia (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Charles D. Hall (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Harry Crocker .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Mark Marlatt .... camera operator (uncredited)
Jack Wilson .... camera operator (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Charles Chaplin .... title music: sung by (1969 print) (as Charlie Chaplin)
Eric James .... musical associate (1969 version)
Lambert Williamson .... music arranged by (1969 version)
Joseph Plunkett .... conductor: prologue (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Toraichi Kono .... driver: Mr. Chaplin (uncredited)
 
Other crew
William E. Hinckley .... laboratory supervisor
Tony Campanaro .... monkey trainer (uncredited)
Harry Crocker .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Henry East .... dog trainer (uncredited)
Charles Gay .... lion trainer (uncredited)
Della Steele .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
71 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Denmark:A (2003) | Finland:S | Finland:K-3 (re-rating) (2001) | Germany:6 | Spain:T | Sweden:Btl | UK:U | USA:Unrated | USA:G (re-release: 1969)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Finnish certificate register # 14846.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: After the tramp washes the shaving cream from his face, he dries himself with a towel but the towel never touches his face (this is probably so that it won't mess up the stage makeup).See more »
Quotes:
A Tramp:If you strike that girl, I'll quit! And what's more, I want what I'm worth.
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master:I'll give you fifty dollars a week.
[the tramp shakes his head]
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master:Sixty!
[the tramp mouths 'no']
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master:I'll double it!
A Tramp:Nothing less than a hundred.
[the Circus Proprietor agrees and they shake on it]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Permeke (1985)See more »
Soundtrack:
Swing Little GirlSee more »

FAQ

Is it true that there is a woman talking on a cell phone in this movie?
See more »
26 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
The Circus (1928), 17 March 2004
Author: ManhattanBeatnik from Waynesville, OH

Charlie Chaplin is a film-maker who isn't given enough credit, in my opinion: sure, people think he's funny, but few seem to recognize the underlying melancholy of his work. In The Circus, our favorite little tramp is running from the law and stumbles upon a carnival, unwittingly becoming the center act and falling in love with a beautiful trapeze artist (Merna Kennedy). Even though this seems like the recipe for a feel-good romantic comedy, in Chaplin's vision, the guy doesn't get the girl. We essentially find ourselves laughing at an unemployed homeless man who needs to make an ass out of himself in order to escape the police -- which is nothing worth laughing at, when you really think about it. Nevertheless, Chaplin created some of the most uproarious scenes in movie history, combining his ingenious slapstick with a genuine humanity that made his character feel like more than just an object of humiliation. The Circus is certainly one of his most under-rated features, showing a darker sense of love and longing than any of his other work: the film opens with a repeated shot of his object of desire swinging on the rings with a forlorn gaze drifting into space. The final shot has the little tramp walking away from the woman he loves, alone: never before (or since) have we so sensed Chaplin's true gloominess. But if I'm making The Circus sound like a serious film, then I've been deceiving you, for it is a very funny movie indeed: Chaplin's gags are innovative and perfectly timed, and he always managed to keep his running time perfectly suited to the audience's interest. Yet in spite of how funny this movie truly is, the parts I remember most are still those that reached a deeper level of human emotion: the scenes between Chaplin and his lover are meant to be comical, but I couldn't help but notice the honesty and poignancy he injected into each vignette. This is as much a romance as it is a comedy -- and a drama, for that matter. It has been said that, two thirds during the shoot of the film, Chaplin had a nervous breakdown; considering the mostly morose tone of the film, that doesn't surprise me. But when film-makers have personal struggles, it typically only increases the authenticity and greatness of their work (just look at Woody Allen's career). Quite simply, The Circus is an American classic: Chaplin not only directed and starred in, but he produced, edited, and even composed original music for his films. His direction is superb -- not only from a comical standpoint, but from a cinematic one as well; one particular scene comes to mind that takes place in a house of mirrors, in which Chaplin uses a repeated set-up to convey a feeling of simultaneous order and confusion. His acting is plain brilliant -- if you can call it acting: he's one of those performers that you watch and smack your head in awe of how extraordinary he is. In a way, The Circus isn't a masterpiece, nor a perfect film, nor even a particularly great one -- but in another way, it is all those things and more. It is a splendid example of just how much can be done within a simple genre movie, and modern film-makers would do themselves a favor by learning from it.

Grade: A

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