Monday, August 4, 2014

Rehearsing the tightrope scene in THE CIRCUS

These scenes were filmed high up in the circus tent with Chaplin suspended only a few feet above a wooden platform which is out of camera range. Assistant director Harry Crocker, who also portrays “Rex, King Of The Air" is at bottom left. Like Chaplin, he also learned to walk the tightrope for his role and claimed that in some of the scenes his legs doubled for Charlie’s when he needed a rest.


  1. I was told (I think it was David Totheroh) that Chaplin was only a few feet off the ground and that the cameras were in a deep trench.


    1. There are production photos showing him high up in the tent with a platform below him & cameras in front of him.

      Harry Crocker talks about the filming of the tightrope scene in an article in a publication called Academy Leader (the text is taken from his manuscript that was never published): "It was characteristic of Chaplin that he determined to shoot the scenes 37 feet above the sawdust , between two giant tent poles. This necessitated the building of a series of platforms beneath the rope in case of a spill."

      Perhaps some scenes were filmed high in the circus tent and others closer to the ground as Mr. Totheroh mentioned.

  2. I was impressed with his final descent in the scene. I loved the monkey giving him a hard time. Been there....done that. Hehehehhe. Only when crossing a flooded area walking on stones during a hurricane with cats anchored around my shoulders and head.