Charlie Chaplin Films a Scene Inside a Lion’s Cage in 200 Takes

Char­lie Chap­lin was an actor and film­mak­er com­mit­ted to his craft–a per­fec­tion­ist, in short. When direct­ing City Lights (1931), Chap­lin demand­ed as many as 342 takes of a fair­ly straight­for­ward three-minute scene. That’s what it took to get it right.

Above, we find an ear­li­er exam­ple of the film­mak­er’s atten­tion to detail … and his appetite for risk. In the 1928 film, The Cir­cus, Chap­lin took more than 200 takes to com­plete the Lion’s Cage scene shown above. Many of those takes, the offi­cial Char­lie Chap­lin web­site reminds us, took place inside the lion’s cage itself. As the scene unfolds, the ten­sion builds and Chap­lin puts in a per­for­mance that helped him secure his first Acad­e­my Award.


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Relat­ed Con­tent:

65 Free Char­lie Chap­lin Films Online

Watch Char­lie Chap­lin Demand 342 Takes of One Scene from City Lights

When Char­lie Chap­lin Entered a Chap­lin Look-Alike Con­test and Came in 20th Place

Char­lie Chap­lin Gets Strapped into a Dystopi­an “Rube Gold­berg Machine,” a Fright­ful Com­men­tary on Mod­ern Cap­i­tal­ism

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.