Plot: After being confused for a pickpocket, the Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) takes refuge from the police in a circus where he meets the lovely Merna (Merna Kennedy), a young acrobat and the daughter of the circus proprietor (Al Ernest Garcia). The circus can always use more people and the Tramp has rather a talent for clownery – at least as long as he doesn’t try to do it on purpose. And so he signs on with the circus – the perfect opportunity to stay close to Merna.
As expected with Charlie Chaplin films, The Circus really is incredibly funny and maybe a little less melancholy than some of the other Tramp films. I had an extremely good time with it.
Professor Manfeldt (Klaus Pohl) has spent his life researching the moon. He has theorized that it has huge gold reserves that could be harvested for earth should space travel ever be achieved. But academia laughed him out of work and into poverty. Now the only one who still believes in him is Wolf Helius (Willy Fritsch). After a mysterious man (Fritz Rasp) shows up at Manfeldt’s, trying to steal his research and putting pressure on them all, things are set in motion to finally finish a rocket and fly to the moon together with Manfeldt, his best friend, engineer Windegger (Gustav von Wangenheim), scientist Friede Velten (Gerda Maurus) and the mysterious man.
When I saw Frau im Mond for the first time, I was pretty annoyed with the music that came with it. So getting the chance to see it with different music (and that music performed live) was a good thing and made the film better.
Carmen (Geraldine Farrar / Edna Purviance) works with smugglers. When the city watch gets a new commander in Don José/Darn Hosiery (Wallace Reid/Charles Chaplin), Carmen makes it her mission to seduce him to secure herself and her people a blind eye to their activities. But José/Hosiery falls hard for Carmen, causing unforseeable complications for everybody.
The straight-up Carmen version was fine, though its cinematic language hasn’t aged all that well. The Chaplin version was fantastic though. And for both version, Brock provided excellent music and arrangements.
A Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) falls deeply in love with a blind Flower Seller (Virginia Cherrill), so much so that he even spends his last money to buy a flower off of her. The girl mistakes him for a rich man though, which at first seems irrelevant. But when the Tramp meets the Millionaire (Harry Myers) – by keeping him from committing suicide – he is rewarded for it, though not always reliably, and starts to make the girl’s life easier whereever he can by courting her as a rich man.
City Lights is a wonderful film – in equal parts funny and touching. And Brock’s music is beautiful and really sets the mood for the entire thing.
In Cops, a young man (Buster Keaton) tries to prove to the girl he loves that he’s a good business man and ends up inadvertently making one shady deal after the other.
In The Cameraman, Buster (Buster Keaton) tries to impress a girl working for a news studio by becoming a cameraman. That doesn’t go so well, either.
So, there’s this big gap in my movie education when it comes to silent films and I had actually never seen a Buster Keaton movie before [I have also never seen a Charlie Chaplin movie but I’m almost too ashamed to admit this]. Since slapstick isn’t much of my thing, I didn’t expect to get much out of it, but both movies were absolutely, brilliantly and amazingly funny. Timothy Brock’s music took a back seat to the sheer awesome, but it was very nice as well.