Criterion Press Release: The Circus (Blu-ray)

3 Stars
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In the last film he made during the silent era, Charlie Chaplin revels in the art of the circus, paying tribute to the acrobats and pantomimists who inspired his virtuoso pratfalls. After being mistaken for a pickpocket, Chaplin’s Little Tramp flees into the ring of a traveling circus and soon becomes the star of the show, falling for the troupe’s bareback rider along the way. Despite its famously troubled production, this gag-packed comedy ranks among Chaplin’s finest, thanks to some of the most audacious set pieces of the director-performer’s career, including a close brush with a lion and a climactic tightrope walk with a barrelful of monkeys. Rereleased in 1969 with a new score by Chaplin, The Circus is an uproarious high-wire act that showcases silent cinema’s most popular entertainer at the peak of his comic powers.

FILM INFO

  • Charles Chaplin
  • United States
  • 1928
  • 71 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • Silent
  • Spine #996SPECIAL FEATURES
    • New 4K digital restoration of Charlie Chaplin’s 1969 rerelease version of the film, featuring an original score by Chaplin, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • New audio commentary featuring Charlie Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
    • Interview with Chaplin from 1969
    • New interview with Chaplin’s son Eugene Chaplin
    • In the Service of the Story, a new program on the film’s visual effects and production design by effects specialist Craig Barron
    • Chaplin Today: “The Circus,” a 2003 documentary on the film, featuring filmmaker Emir Kusturica
    • Excerpted audio interview with Chaplin musical associate Eric James
    • Unused café sequence with new score by composer Timothy Brock, and related outtakes with audio commentary by Chaplin historian Dan Kamin
    • Newly discovered outtakes featuring the Tramp and the bareback rider
    • Original recording of the film’s opening song, “Swing, Little Girl,” by Ken Barrie
    • Footage of the 1928 Hollywood premiere
    • Rerelease trailers
    • PLUS: An essay by critic Pamela Hutchinson

    New cover by Mark Chiarello

    September 24, 2019

Published by

Ronald Epstein

administrator

25 Comments

  1. The price link below will take you directly to the product on Amazon. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

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  2. I'm speechless .. :drum::banana::dancing-banana-04::dance::rock::dancing-banana-04::cheers::razz:opcorn::wave-hello::welcome:

    You can thank me because I bought the Region B Artificial Eye collection from Amazon UK ;)…

  3. If anyone here doesn't think monkeys can be really funny, I have a great silent double-feature for you: This film with Chaplin, and THE KID BROTHER with Harold Lloyd. I haven't laughed so hard for a decade as I did watching the Lloyd film.

  4. stevenHa

    Can someone explain what the 1969 version represents – is it lacking somehow from it's original 1928 release ?

    For the most part not really. Unlike "The Gold Rush" and "The Kid," Chaplin didn't cut any material for this film's reissue. Once you get past the newly done main credits and Chaplin's "Swing, Little Girl" song, the film is editorially the same as what 1928 audiences saw.

  5. Arthur Powell

    Once you get past the newly done main credits and Chaplin's "Swing, Little Girl" song…

    …to say nothing of Chaplin's excruciating narration in place of intertitles and the overuse of his description of himself in the movie as "The little fellow." Takes me right out of the film. I stick to the silent.

  6. I’m so excited about this release I jhope st want to keep talking and talking about it. Lol

    Apparently, around 2010, news outlets were playing the footage from the premier saying it proved time travel. They said it showed a woman with a cell phone; turned out to be an old 1920s hearing aid!

  7. The price link below will take you directly to the product on Amazon. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

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  8. Dick

    …to say nothing of Chaplin's excruciating narration in place of intertitles and the overuse of his description of himself in the movie as "The little fellow." Takes me right out of the film. I stick to the silent.

    Count yourself lucky then. Chaplin fully intended to give the same treatment to "The Circus" after the relative success of the reissue of "The Gold Rush." However, he never went through with it perhaps because he was distracted by several other things – "Monsieur Verdoux," meeting Oona, and his Maury situation all come to mind. He did commission composer Hanns Eisler to compose music for the film, but I don't think the work was finished. That would have made an interesting Criterion featurette though.

  9. Chaplin's estate has been notoriously difficult to deal with in regards to licensing the original cuts of Chaplin's copyrighted films, insisting that the revisionist versions are his final and last word on the films. They won't even license them as bonus content.
    The Image laserdiscs released many years ago somehow managed to access the original cuts of several titles such as Modern Times. Someone can probably fill us in on what other titles Image released in their original versions.

  10. Actually, The Kid, Modern Times, and Limelight have deleted footage as extras. Just not as part of the film. And The Gold Rush has both cuts in full with the silent version given a full 5.1 re-recording of Chaplin's score by Timothy Brock. My guess is that the 1928 version of The Circus doesn't survive or survive complete enough. Even the version David Shepard produced for the 1993 laserdisc (and reused for the 2000 Image DVD) was a reworking of the 1969 cut to approximate the silent version, which really just had the credits re-created and the film speed-corrected.

    Still excited for this release and it'll be good to finally replace my Image DVD.

  11. Anyone know if the Criterion Channel already has this newly restored version? If not currently this version, know when the service might have it?

    Thanks!

    _Man_

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