On September 24th 2019, the Criterion Collection released Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus.
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 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. The Circus, which was rereleased in 1969 with a new score by Chaplin, is an uproarious high-wire act that showcases silent cinema’s most popular entertainer at the peak of his comic powers.
- 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 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 film scholar Craig Barron
- Chaplin Today: “The Circus,” a 2003 documentary on the film featuring filmmaker Emir Kusturica
- Excerpted audio interview from 1998 with Chaplin musical associate Eric James
- Unused café sequence with new score by composer Timothy Brock, and related outtakes with narration by comedy choreographer Dan Kamin
- Newly discovered outtakes featuring the Tramp and the circus rider
- Excerpts from the original recording session for the film’s opening song, “Swing Little Girl”
- Footage of the film’s 1928 Hollywood premiere
- Rerelease trailers
- PLUS: An essay by critic Pamela Hutchinson