Released in the closing days of the Silent Era, with production wrapping the same month The Jazz Singer premiered, Chaplin’s The Circus is a film that seems to know it’s aesthetic is on its way out the door.
Even with City Lights and Modern Times still to come, there’s an air of finality to it, perhaps most movingly encapsulated by its closing frames: we watch the circus leave the town and The Tramp behind, no better off than when he arrived to amuse the crowd at the start.
It is an article of faith among your more generous cinephiles that you should never be embarrassed by the classics you haven’t yet seen. Everyone has blind spots, no one has time to see everything, and a gap in your viewing only indicates how much you have to look forward to!
The collapsing house that miraculously spares Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill, Jr. might be the most famous image in the great comedian’s body of work, but the collapsing bridge in The General remains (reputedly) the most expensive single stunt in all of silent film.
Why did the image of Harold Lloyd‘s “Glasses character” – pasty, spectacled, straw boater still perched precariously on his head – dangling from the minute hand of a clock 12 stories up become one of cinema’s most enduring images?
The folks over at Flavorwire compiled a list of their 50 greatest movie characters, and it’s pretty solid. However, on the premise that one list is never as good as two lists (otherwise known as The Law Of The Internet), I composed my own.
It’s awards season, and there’s no shortage of commentary. I might chime in myself in a few weeks. (Spoilers: Boyhood, Ida, The Immigrant, Under The Skin, and Noah would win all the things if it were up to me, and Uma Thurman would get a best Supporting Actress nod for Nymphomaniac Vol 1 — it is not, it turns out, up to me.)
But I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight some of the best movies I saw this year which won’t be winning awards, primarily because some of them are from nearly 100 years ago.