Back Circus, The
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class rating
Tuesday, 06 September 2011 at 7pm
Comedy Classics
  • Silent comedy
  • 1928
  • USA
  • B&W
  • 71 mins.

Charles Chaplin's theme of despondent love all but overwhelms the brilliant slapstick set pieces (a chase through a hall of mirrors, being trapped in a lion's cage) when the Tramp, on the run from the police, joins the circus and falls for the bare-back rider (Merna Kennedy). Chaplin got a special award for acting, writing, directing and producing the film, but the best moments are the least self conscious and hark back to his music hall origins (walking a tightrope with falling trousers and a clinging monkey for example). It's not the best Chaplin, but still pretty sensational. TH Radio Times Film Guide.

With this screening we'll also be including a 20 minutes short film…

The Dentist (1932) Directed by Leslie Pearce, starring WC Fields and Babe Kane.

Based on a sketch first performed in the Earl Carroll Vanities, this marked WC Fields's debut for slapstick supremo, Mack Sennett. Having forbidden his daughter to marry the ice man and endured golfing hell, Fields is next tormented by a bearded patient and Elise Cavanna's stubborn tooth. (The shots in which she throws her legs around his waist to assist his merciless assault with the dental pliers were excised for TV screenings until the 1970s.) More importantly, though, this is the film that established the Fields persona that would serve him to the end of his career. DP


Charles Chaplin


Charles Chaplin