09/01/2014  
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 16Cabin Fever: Patient Zero on DVD & Blu-ray Sep 2Last Passenger on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 9Person of Interest: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ray Combo & DVD Sep 2Willow Creek on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 9Dinosaur Train: Buddy's Halloween Adventure on DVD Sep 2

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History on Blu-ray & DVD Se...
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero on DVD & Blu-ray Sep 2...
Last Passenger on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 9...
'Rosewater': Gael Garcia Bernal in Jon Stewart's Direct...
Person of Interest: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ra...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Warner Home Video presents
The Circus (1928)

"Bring on the funny man!"
- The circus crowd, baying for the return of the Tramp, in an intertitle

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: August 05, 2004

Stars: Charlie Chaplin, Merna Kennedy, Allan Garcia, Harry Crocker, George Davis, Henry Bergman
Director: Charles Chaplin

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: The circus crowd, baying for the return of the Tra
Release Date: March 02, 2004
UPC: 085393796723
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ ABB B+

DVD Review

The full confession on this one is that I've always been more of a Keaton guy than a Chaplin guy. Yes, they're both geniuses; and yes, Chaplin was the more ambitious filmmaker. But even when his heart was in the right place, there was frequently something uncomfortably didactic about the Chaplin films widely regarded as masterpieces—his views on Fascism (The Great Dictator), for instance, or the dehumanizing effects of industrialism (Modern Times) are impeccable, but a schoolmarmy, scolding tone can creep into those movies. And nobody wants to go to the movies to be scolded.

But in The Circus, it's nothing but giggles, and if it's slighter than some other later Chaplin pictures, it's still a dandy, and it's certainly a small comic masterpiece. Chaplin of course plays the unnamed Tramp, mistaken by the local police for a pickpocket—he's on the lam, and the chase lands him smack dab in the middle of the circus, which has just come to town. There he falls hard for Merna (Merna Kennedy), a lovely young woman but slightly inept acrobat; she's punished brutally by her evil stepfather, the circus ringmaster. The Tramp has his eyes on Merna, but she's looking in another direction, at Rex, the dashing young tightrope walker (Harry Crocker) who has just joined the company.

That setup is more than architecturally adequate for Chaplin to demonstrate his mastery of comic construction, and to put together some of the funniest sequences in film history, silent or not. The Tramp inadvertently wanders into the center of the ring during the performance, and with his pratfalls and bumblings, becomes the toast of the big tent—of course, he can't replicate his success when he tries. In fact, the ringmaster asks the Tramp to audition with the clowns, and some of the funniest stuff here is of the Tramp being hopeless at being funny on purpose. (For instance, in a tired old William Tell routine, the Tramp helpfully replaces a wormy apple with a banana on his head.)

You'll never see Chaplin with more animals, either—a horse in the circus has it in for him and charges him whenever he gets a chance; the Tramp is at turns brave and terrified by his encounter from inside the cage with a sleeping lion; and the comic climax of the film features the Tramp trying to replicate Rex's act while being tormented by monkeys. All in all, this is unquestionably one of the most delightful hours you can spend in front of your television set, and this DVD is a chance for a new millennium to learn about Chaplin's unparalleled genius all over again.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The final sequence is particularly muddy, and the print is flecked throughout with a certain number of scratches. But given the age of the film, it's a marvel that so much of it looks so good—and even if some of it looked better, you probably wouldn't laugh any harder.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Why o why would anyone bother doing a 5.1 Dolby remix of a silent film? Here, it's principally because, in the 1960s, Chaplin composed a score to accompany the film, which hadn't been seen in decades; he even wrote a song to play over the opening credits, and sings it himself. Anyway, it all sounds fine, with only a bit of hiss here and there.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
1 Deleted Scenes
2 Documentaries
8 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Cardboard Tri-Fold
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. scenes from other films in The Chaplin Collection
  2. poster and photo galleries
Extras Review: A second disc is devoted to an illuminating set of extras. First, Chaplin biographer David Robinson provides an introduction (05m:08s) to the film, which Chaplin didn't even mention in his autobiography, for the production was so plagued with problems, chief among which was a torrent of bad publicity resulting from Chaplin's impending divorce. An installment (26m:29s) of a series called Chaplin Today is very good on the director's music hall pedigree, and on him as the rightful heir to the tradition of commedia dell' arte; it's also full of great archival footage, such as that of the very circus routines that Chaplin sends up in the feature. The only weakness here is an overreliance on director Emir Kustirica as an authority on Chaplin; he hasn't much to say.

A deleted sequence (09m:46s) is great stuff, Charlie exploiting the comic possibilities of a garden rake, and being baffled by a pair of identical prizefighting twins—the fact that it was cut is an indication of just how compact and efficient the storytelling is in the feature. What's labeled as October 7-13, 1926 (26m:24s) is an opportunity to see just what a relentless perfectionist Chaplin was—it's take after take of little more than some of the characters entering a restaurant, but the director would settle for nothing less than just what he wanted. (On some scenes, he did as many as 700 takes.) A trio of home movies show us the offscreen Charlie—in the first (01m:21s), he goofs around with monkeys and pretty girls; in the second (01m:44s), he yuks it up with his United Artists partner Douglas Fairbanks; and the last, The Sacrifice (03m:20s), is a little home movie shot poolside in Hollywood splendor.

Silent footage (06m:23s) from the Hollywood premiere of the film at Grauman's Chinese Theater features the arrival of such stars as W.C. Fields, Adolphe Menjou, and Rod La Roque—wasn't that a time! Camera A, Camera B (01m:15s) is a demonstration of Chaplin's method of shooting simultaneously with two cameras rolling; and some 3-D test footage (02m:23s) is not a very successful early effort—mostly, it's two guys waving their hands madly and oddly.

You'll also find an excerpt (12m28s) from 1923's Circus Days, starring Jackie Coogan, onetime Chaplin costar in similarly themed material; two trailers for the film's 1960s re-release, one in English, one in French; an extensive photo gallery, an array of international posters, and clips (10m:42s in all) from other Chaplin DVD releases.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

Absolutely one of the funniest hours in film history, with genius gags and genuine emotion from Chaplin at the height of his powers. The second disc is valuable, too, especially regarding the filmmaker's working methods—and thanks to DVD, this circus train isn't pulling out of town any time soon. Come one, come all, to one of the greatest shows on earth!

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

biography, history, horror, drama, movie, rosewater, maziar bahari, jon stewart director, gael garcia bernal, celebrity, joan rivers, comedian, cardiac arrest, mount sinai hospital, 81 years old, television, full house, revival, john stamos, candace cameron bure, jody sweetin, andrea barber, bob saget, dave coulier, pierce brosnan, the november man, luke bracey, james bond, olga kurylenko, roger donaldson, kids, music, justin timberlake, iceland, 90 minutes, korinn auditorium, shake your body, take back the night, box office, movies, movies. richard attenborough, actor, director, brighton rock, gandhi, oh what a lovely war, jurassic park. in which we serve, comedy, simpsons, marathon, fxx, itchy & scratchy & marge, miley cyrus, dominican republic, banned, moral grounds, wrecking ball, sports, little league baseball, mo'ne davis, taney dragons, las vegas team, 2014 emmy awards, billy crystal, father's day, don mischer, sin city: a dame to kill for, mickey rourke, josh brolin, jessica alba, nicki minaj, anaconda video, drake, twerking, lapdance, teenage mutant ninja turtles, guardians of the galaxy, megan fox, will arnett, whoopi goldberg, beyonce knowles, jay-z, hbo, on the run tour, clip, bang bang (my baby shot me down), sonny bono, 1966

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

earth mosaics

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact