The Circus is a 1928 silent film which finds Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character being chased by a police officer, having been mistaken for a pickpocket. Running into the circus main tent in an attempt to escape the law, the patrons there mistake his fleeing for part of the act - and the best part! Recognising potential profit, the ringmaster hires him, but discovers that The Tramp can only be funny unintentionally, not on purpose. It stars Chaplin, Al Ernest Garcia, Merna Kennedy, Harry Crocker, George Davis and Henry Bergman.
The movie was written by Chaplin and Joseph Plunkett (prologue, uncredited) and directed by Chaplin. It became the 7th highest grossing silent film in cinema history taking in more than $3.8 million dollars in 1928.
The production of the film was the most difficult experience in Chaplin's career. Numerous problems and delays occurred, including a studio fire, the death of Chaplin's mother, as well as Chaplin's bitter divorce from his second wife Lita Grey, and the Internal Revenue Service's claims of Chaplin's owed back taxes, all of which culminated in filming being stalled for eight months.
After being mistakenly suspected as a pickpocket and chased by the police, a Tramp (Chaplin) happens to stumble in the middle of a circus performance and unknowingly becomes the hit of the show. He is hired by the circus Ring Master and thus he becomes a part of the group. His romantic attraction to Merna, the Ring Master's stepdaughter is thwarted by a rival suitor, a tightrope walker called Rex. This results in the tramp's failure as a clown as well as a lover. In the end, the tramp takes the initiative for the marriage of Merna and Rex and he leaves the group, though the new couple wanted him to remain as a part of the circus.
It was nominated for the four Academy Awards all for Charlie Chaplin but the Academy took Chaplin out of the running for competitive awards by giving him a Special Award. The Academy no longer lists his nominations in their official list of nominees, although most unofficial lists of nominations do include him.
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