Charlie Chaplin: A five-day, 12-film retrospective featuring all-new 35mm prints opens Saturday with perhaps the most underrated of the Little Tramp’s efforts, “The Circus” (1928), preceded by two shorts, “The Idle Class” (1921) and “A Day’s Pleasure” (1919).
Far from a minor effort, “The Circus” deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as other Chaplins being screened over the next week, including “City Lights” (Sunday), “Modern Times” (Monday), “The Great Dictator” (Tuesday) and “The Kid” (Tuesday).
Part of the reason is that it is packed with one visually inventive sequence after another, even more so than most Chaplin films - the funhouse and tightrope set pieces in particular. Also, the unrequited love story with a trick horse rider (Merna Kennedy) is especially affecting. Chaplin, who won a special Academy Award for the film, was an acute social and political critic.
If he had decided to write instead of make films, he would have been George Orwell.
Saturday through Wednesday at :
the Castro Theatre
429 Castro St. San Fransisco