This is probably my favorite silent Chaplin film, for pure enjoyability. The pace is great throughout, there are continuous gags, and the ending is perfect. Chaplin adds a mischievous twinge to his Tramp throughout, so he gets away with being a little shit a lot of the time.
Basically he stumbles into a job as an unintentional clown at the circus. You can pretty much take it from there with your imagination, and the reality will match it. The highlight is a tightrope-walking scene where he’s swarming with monkeys, one of which crams it’s tail in his mouth and another that has an obsession with biting his nose. The look on his face throughout is priceless. I quite nearly pissed my pants. See this movie, you won’t regret it. It’s more likely that you leave a comment thanking me for bringing it to your attention (although my false modesty compels me to assure you that it won’t be necessary to do so).
The following goes for all Chaplin films that will appear here. I am ashamed that it took me as long as it did to begin watching his films and appreciate him as an artist. The first movies of his that I viewed, I literally sat slack-jawed as I watched. Nothing I had seen of modern entertainers prepared me for the virtuosity of this one man. Nothing we have nowadays even approaches the level of talent that he (and IMO to a lesser extent Buster Keaton) displayed. He was an artist in the true sense of the word. Just think: the amount of talent necessary to write, direct, choreograph, invent, compose music for, and act in all of these productions staggers the imagination. Just look at the list in that last sentence. HE DID ALL OF THOSE THINGS BY HIMSELF, FOR LIKE 30 YEARS, WITH MORE THAN 20 MOVIES! I consider him on the same level as Shakespeare, Mozart and Dante for what he has done with the arts. Who living even approaches the shadow that Chaplin cast in terms of all-around entertainment value? I defy you to name even one person.
It pisses me off that he’s not better appreciated nowadays.
18 March 2010