Charlie, a wandering tramp, becomes a circus handyman – soon the star of the show – and falls in love with the circus owner’s stepdaughter.
- A Tramp: Charlie Chaplin
- The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master: Al Ernest Garcia
- Circus Proprietor’s Stepdaughter, a Circus Rider: Merna Kennedy
- Rex, a Tight Rope Walker / Disgruntled Property Man / Clown: Harry Crocker
- A Magician: George Davis
- An Old Clown: Henry Bergman
- The Head Property Man: Tiny Sandford
- An Assistant Property Man / Clown: John Rand
- A Pickpocket: Steve Murphy
- Cop (uncredited): Chester A. Bachman
- Cop (uncredited): Stanley Blystone
- Clown (uncredited): Heinie Conklin
- Man Operating Ropes (uncredited): Jack Pierce
- Music: Charlie Chaplin
- Director of Photography: Roland Totheroh
- talisencrw: When I’m faced with challenges in my life, I am somewhat heartened by something I learned as a child, that an oyster has to be irritated by a grain of sand in order to eventually make a pearl. That knowledge always made the load I was carrying seem less significant, and helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Cinematically speaking, at least in the fine age of silent movies, one of the most difficult gestation periods for the birth of a great film was the highly traumatic 11 months of production for one of Sir Charles Chaplin’s masterpieces, ‘The Circus’.
I love both silent cinema and early filmic comedies, and though I prefer Buster Keaton to Chaplin, I always enjoy his great works, up to and including ‘The Great Dictator’. Particularly close to my heart is ‘The Circus’. Considering all of the brutal disasters Sir Charles Chaplin was facing during the movie’s elongated production (ruined film negative, studio burning down, Lita Grey’s divorce papers [and the related sex-scandals hitting the papers], nervous breakdown, mother dying, IRS demanding a million in back taxes, one of the circus wagons being stolen, just to mention a few), it’s miraculous that a film was released at all, let alone one as gracefully hilarious yet contemplatively mature as ‘The Circus’, and that he was able to both recover and rebound from this bad spell to have a superlative career as one of the greatest actor/directors ever to grace cinema. His life was basically a three-ring circus, and he was still able to retain his dignity and escape virtually unscathed.
Because of the aforementioned trials and tribulations he endured in those eleven months of the film’s making (which IMHO would be worthy of a fine film itself, in its documentation and chronicling), though it may not be as side-splitting in its hilarity as ‘The Gold Rush’ or ‘Modern Times’, it will probably hold the closest place to my heart of Chaplin’s films.