IMDb > The Circus (1928)
The Circus
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The Circus (1928) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 17 | slideshow)

Overview

User Rating:
8.1/10   12,804 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
Charlie of the Sawdust See more (198 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)
Create a character page for: ?

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


Production CompaniesDistributors
Create a character page for: ?

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:
Charles Chaplin practiced tightrope walking for weeks before filming. He actually performed on a rope 40 feet in the air. However, the footage was lost when the negative was scratched during processing. The scene had to be re-shot, and the footage included in the film was not as good as that which had been lost, in Chaplin's estimation.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:
Merna:I've run away from the circus.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) (V)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 »
10 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Charlie of the Sawdust, 1 December 2007
Author: lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida

THE CIRCUS (United Artists, 1928) written, produced, directed and starring Charlie Chaplin, is a well-documented gem about circus life, mixing comedy and sentiment in the best Chaplin tradition, ranking this one of his finer yet neglected achievements of the 1920s.

In it, Chaplin plays a tramp who drifts at the midway of the circus after being wrongly accused of a theft and chased by a policeman. His escapades are mistaken as part of the act, which stirs roars of laughter from its audience. Because his circus has not been earning any profits, the ringmaster/owner (Allan Garcia) decides in hiring Charlie as his top attraction. However it is learned that Charlie is only funny whenever he blunders to his viewing public. Charlie soon learns from the abused Merna (Merna Kennedy), how valuable he really is, thus, making demands of quitting to his employer unless he ceases mistreating his stepdaughter, and offers him a higher salary, which he does. All goes well until Rex (Henry Crocker), "King of the High Wire," joins the circus and becomes attracted to Merna, causing Charlie to vie for her affections any which way he can.

With the circus being one of the more famous backdrops of many movie comedians and/or comedy teams ranging from W.C. Fields to Laurel & Hardy, The Marx Brothers to Martin and Lewis, THE CIRCUS stands out more for its ingenious use of difficult gags, comic timing and the effort that went into it to make every gag funny as well as realistically done. Rarely seen since its original theatrical release, THE CIRCUS came into full view again shortly after Chaplin's death in 1977. Newly scored and restored by Chaplin himself in 1968 (as mentioned in the new opening titles), with his singing of "Swing Little Girl" recorded on the soundtrack during the opening credits, my first experience with THE CIRCUS was in 1980 at New York City's Regency Theater, 68th Street and Broadway, where the revival theater (which no longer exists, having been demolished in 1998) paid a tribute to Chaplin with a series of shorts and features, including THE KID (1921), MODERN TIMES (1936) and THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940). Being surrounded by an appreciative audience laughing at a silent film made long ago indicated d THE CIRCUS has stood the test of time and what a comic genius Chaplin was, especially when demonstrating how difficult performing comedy can be as his character finds he has to be funny and isn't, and at the same time showing how poor he is as a comic to the circus staff and how funny he is as a bad comedian to the movie audience. While sitting in the dark movie theater of all ages at the Regency, the biggest laughs occurred during the opening as Chaplin hides from the law inside a fun house surrounded by mirrors and later making a fool out of the rival pickpocket (Steve Murphy) as they each attempt to fool the policeman by pretending to be movable statues; Charlie's encounter with a lion while locked inside the cage; and the biggest topper of all being Charlie doing a tight rope wire act and trying to balance himself while loose monkeys crawl all over him, thus disrupting his act. These same gags obviously brought forth many laughs in 1980 as it did in 1928, and continue to do so today. In between these gags comes pathos, which Chaplin also succeeds without hurting the continuity.

Chaplin staff players regulars such as Harry Bergman as the Clown, and Stanley Sanford as the Head Property lead fine support. Others in the cast include Betty Morrissey as The Vanishing Lady; George Davis as The Magician; John Rand, Albert Austin and Heinie Conklin in smaller roles.

In spite of its true greatness, it's hard to believe how underrated THE CIRCUS has become, not having the appreciation as Chaplin's own masterpieces, THE GOLD RUSH (1925) and CITY LIGHTS (1931), even by Chaplin himself. It's been said that during the making of THE CIRCUS, Chaplin was going through personal problems of his own, including divorce and the passing of his mother. It's even more ironic the elimination of THE CIRCUS from Chaplin's own autobiography published in 1964 while his other works were profiled to great extent, regardless of his nomination as Best Actor and Best Comedy Director by the Academy for 1927-28 awards. At least this has been amended through its reissue throughout the years to a new generation of movie lovers.

Distributed onto video cassette as part of the Chaplin centennial collection in 1989, THE CIRCUS, currently on DVD, made its presence known on television in the height of cable television, notably on the weekly series, "Dead Comics Society" on the Comedy Channel hosted by Kevin Kline around 1989-90, followed by American Movie Classics (1997-2000) and Turner Classic Movies where it made its debut in 2003.

THE CIRCUS, a 70 minute comedy, is a fine study to film students and anyone appreciating and supporting the art of silent comedy. (****)

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (198 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Circus (1928)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Poster? cman2099x
Am I completely nuts?? smiles4891
THE CIRCUS' reputation CHARLIE-89
lion denham
Tightrope walking scene is the funniest scene on film kyluvjesus
The Donkey sherylshannon
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Greed Ossessione Gone with the Wind My Own Private Idaho
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Comedy section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.