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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