July 21, 2014

Charlie Chaplin, The Circus

Won: Honorary Academy Award - Acting/Writing/Directing/Producing

I'm not someone who generally likes to rewatch movies unless I really like it, so it took me awhile to summon the motivation to sit through The Circus again. I had watched and reviewed Charlie Chaplin's performance a good four years ago on my old blog and figured I wouldn't find anything new in his performance a second time around. For the most part, I was right--there wasn't anything that made me like Chaplin's work any more or less than I had initially--but what I ultimately forgot was that this is Charlie Chaplin we're talking about, and any one of his pictures and performances guarantees a pleasant viewing experience at the very least. He's an excellent comedian (as if you didn't already know), whose talents lie in his ability to be effortless goofy and undeniably lovable, so it's hard not to smile watching him here. It's rather fitting that the Tramp would work at the circus, given that Chaplin is such a physical performer and a showman. I was surprised at how easy he could get me to chuckle or outright laugh based on the simplest things--perhaps a kooky facial expression here, a slapstick stunt there--Chaplin's got a great gift of knowing and orchestrating his body and face to generate laughter and overall positive feelings. So Chaplin's work in The Circus might not be much to write home about, but it's easy to understand why the performance was shortlisted as one of the best of Oscar's first year--there's a magic and charm to him here that has staying power, and aren't those nouns that we often associate with movies and Hollywood in general?


  1. Not his best performance and movie, but I enjoyed it.

  2. Not familiar with it.
    Years ago, when I saw a couple of Chaplin films, I can't say I connected, expect for The Great Dictator, which might just be one of the most important performances in history, and a damn fine one. [if you haven't seen it, you'll discover it soon enough ;) ]