Review: Charles Chaplin's "The Circus" (1928); Criterion Blu-ray Special Edition

  • CinemaRetro
“Big Top Hilarity”

By Raymond Benson

Finally! Chaplin fans can rejoice that The Criterion Collection has at last released the long-awaited missing entry in their run of excellent Blu-ray and DVD editions of the filmmaker’s feature films. For a while it appeared that The Circus, one of the auteur’s best and certainly, arguably, his funniest picture, was forgotten, as it’s been a few years since Criterion’s last Chaplin release. Now… here it is.

The Circus was made just as Hollywood was beginning the transition from silents to talkies. There were still plenty of silent pictures being produced in 1928, and the move to sound wouldn’t be seriously completed until 1930. Ironically, Chaplin chose to make an additional silent comedy in 1931, City Lights, and a semi-silent movie, Modern Times, in 1936!

Charlie is The Tramp, of course. Broke and penniless, he wanders near a traveling circus and, while eluding
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