07/04/2015  
Goodbye to All That on DVD Jul 14My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests on DVD Jun 30First Peoples on DVD Jul 7Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 on Digital Jun 30 & Blu-ray Combo Jul 14Tough Being Loved By Jerks on DVD Jun 9Turbo Fast: Season One on DVD June 2Inside the Court of Henry VIII on DVD Jun 16

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Watch the star-studded "Wet Hot American Summer" traile...
'Star Trek 3' Title Revealed by Director Justin Lin: Ta...
Mexico Won't Be Sending Anyone To Miss Universe Pageant...
Goodbye to All That on DVD Jul 14...
Cosby lawyer: Unsealing court docs 'terribly embarrassi...
Disney bans selfie sticks at all theme parks, including...
Jimmy Fallon hospitalized after hand injury...
Photos From New Episodes of "The X-Files"...
Apple's decision to pay artists a win for indies, Taylo...
My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests...



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

television, netflix, wet hot american summer: first day of camp, michael showalter, david wain, elizabeth banks, michael ian black, bradley cooper, judah friedlander, janeane garofalo, joe lo truglio, ken marino, christopher meloni, marguerite moreau, zak orth, amy poehler, david hyde pierce, paul rudd, molly shannon, movie, sci-fy, star trek, justin lin, j.j. abrams, star trek beyond, zoe soldana, chris pine, celebrity, donald trump, republican presidential candidate, nbc, televisa, ora tv, lupita jones, carlos slim, larry king, drama, bill cosby, sex-assault lawsuit, associated press, george m. gowen iii, disneyland, disney california adventure, selfie sticks banned, california screaming, coachella, lollapalooza, jimmy fallon, tonight show, hand injury, x files, david duchovny, gillian anderson, fox, january 24, 2016, music, apple music, allen kovac, motley crue, taylor swift, elvis costello, calvin harris, animation, kids, the tonight show, colin ferrell, vince vaughn, true detective, hbo, nbc nightly news, brian williams, anchor, matt lauer, today, msnbc, lester holt, mark feldstein, inside out, pixar, mindy-disgust, amy poehler-joy, phyllis smith-sadness, fear-bill hader, anger-lewis black., nbc evening news, cnn, robert barnett, daytime soap oprah, general hospital, genie francis, anthony geary, foo fighters, cancellations, wembley stadium, murrayfield, dave grohl, sci-fi, adventure action, avengers: age of ultron, spectre, star wars, cbs, big brother, julie chen, wwe wrestler, professional poker player, a poker dealer, a dentist, and a few college students, documentary, mission: impossible - rogue nation, tom cruise, pixels, adam sandler, ted 2, mark wahlberg, terminator genisys, arnold schwarzenegger, doctor strange, chiwetel ejiofor, benedict cumberbatch, tilda swinton, nightly news, the today show, dateline nbc, duck dynasty, jep robertson, jessica, the good, the bad, and the grace of god: what honesty and pain taught us about faith, family, and forgiveness, good morning america, beyonce, marco gorges, comedy, bridge of spies, tom hanks, steven spielberg, matt carman, coen brothers, spy thriller, true events, mission:impossible rogue nation, christopher mcquarrie, kirk krack, rebecca ferguson, lifetime, deadly adoption, kristen wiig, will ferrell, fantastic beasts and where to find them, eddie redmayne. the theory of everything

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

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

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