I saw “The Circus” the other night on TCM, Turner Classic Movies. It is silent in the sense that the characters can’t be heard, there are dialogue cards to read every few seconds. There is sound in the form of music. Chaplin composed most of the music for all of his films, and he did on this one. The music is really fabulous. I’d like to buy a soundtrack cd or two of his films. This is the second silent Chaplin film I’ve seen. The other, “City Lights” , is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

Since you have to read the dialogue, you pay attention and understand the movie better. On TCM, there were no commercials so I had to sit still and concentrate all the way through. I really like this, similar to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” you absorb all the aspects of the production. In Crouching Tiger, you have to read the dialogue cards since the dialogue is Chinese.   The Circus was made in 1928 and City Lights in 1931. City Lights has a great soundtrack as well, with superb acting.

I really appreciate these movies. Chaplin has always been praised as a great movie maker but until you see one of his movies, the tendency is to regard the praise as mere puffery. The movies today seem loud and abusive to my senses for the most part. I feel like they are trying to keep me from leaving my seat. With these two Chaplin movies, you won’t want to leave your seat. Try to see one of the above two movies if you have the chance.

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