Sunday, September 13, 2015

Movie review - "The Circus" (1928) ***

Charlie joins the circus, falls in love with a trapeze artist (Madge Kennedy), works as a props master and becomes a clown, defends the girl against her abusive father but loses her to a tight-rope walker.

There's lots of acrobatics and funny moments: Charlie pinching a hot dog off a kid, Charlie's battle with a pick pocket which winds up in the hall of mirrors, Charlie on the high wire. There's plenty of pathos with Kennedy being smacked around and Charlie losing her - his romantic rival is a nice guy, and Charlie is noble, although I wish her abusive dad had gotten more of a come-uppance and sometimes I was going "alright already you've got our sympathy, Charlie, now just be funny".

Not bad - I didn't think it was an amazing classic or anything. The fellow clowns and circus people remind me of what I think Chaplin's old vaudeville/Mack Sennett colleagues must have been like.

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