Previously Played

Charlie Chaplin in THE CIRCUS

  • 11:00 AM

All tickets are $7

Part of the seriesFILM FORUM Jr.

See the complete schedule of films

Starring Charlie Chaplin

(1928, Charlie Chaplin) Steal candy from a baby? On a circus midway Charlie chows down on a hot dog still in a puzzled tot’s grasp, adding mustard mid-munch, then, pursued by a cop, ricochets through a hall of mirrors, masquerades as a glockenspiel automaton, and hurtles into the circus floor itself where he and the cop perform a perpetual motion chase on a revolving platform, finally spinning off to disrupt a magician’s disappearance act – and brings the house down. And instead of the big house, it’s the big top, as ringmaster/owner Allan Garcia immediately recruits the Tramp for his previously comedy-less circus, in between abusing his tutu-clad equestrienne daughter Merna Kennedy. Inevitably one-sided Romance ensues, but there’s just two problems, personal and professional: there is eventually Another; and, when new clown Charlie tries to be funny … he isn’t! It’s time for the Cupid act from a heartbroken Charlie, and a final triumph: in a Harold Lloydesque tour de force, his tightrope act gets complicated when that darn safety harness self-destructs – bad enough! – and then three escaped monkeys decide to join the fun. Three years after The Gold Rush, The Circus proved another gigantic smash, even as the Sound Era was beginning, and perhaps his most perfect blend of hilarity and pathos, with a particularly haunting walkoff into the early morning sun. Approx. 71 min. 35mm.

REVIEWS

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"The Circus is a beautiful film, one for movie cryptologists, for movie purists, for historians, for maiden aunts, for sullen children, for bored parents – and mostly for people who haven't laughed recently.”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times (1970).

“Because The Circus has no pretensions, it doesn't seem to date – and on its comedy and charm is as strong as it ever was.”
  – William K. Everson

“A screaming delight from fadein to fadeout. It is a howling, hearty, happy, slightly slapstick production wherein the inimitable Charlie gets you more often by a laugh than by a tear. One is kept so constantly in a state of grin, giggle and guffaw at this glorious picturization … even in the moments of pathos -- which don't number nearly as many as did several previous Chaplin vehicles -- one doesn't weep freely. Behind each tear there are at least a dozen laughs"
– New York Daily News