Chaplin's Tramp is driven into the Big Top by police who think he's a pickpocketer. His clown-talent is immediately recognised, but his comedy cannot be forced, it must be spontaneous, so the circus-owner places him in the ring around the time of a show and lets the magic happen. The Tramp proceeds to fall in love with the owner's daughter.
The laughing/crying clown tradition was never better realised in a Chaplin feature than in this silent comedy.
Forget the love triangle romance and instead wallow in Chaplinís obvious affection and empathy for his clown predecessors (of big top and music hall varieties), while also marvelling at his fast-developing directorial skills (the hall of mirrors sequence, the double exposures). Never a dull moment from beginning to end.
Never a dull moment from beginning to end.