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Today I realized who I needed to dedicate my short novel Circus to — a silent film star, whose image from an old movie poster graces the cover of the book, above.
He played a clown in two of my favorite silent movies, He Who Gets Slapped and Laugh, Clown, Laugh, and my book owes a lot to those movies — to their lurid, melodramatic, Grand Guignol excess. The book was also partly inspired by some images in King Vidor’s The Big Parade, and by The Circus, my favorite Chaplin feature.
I’d like to think of the book as resembling the scenario of a lost silent film about the circus, like Murnau’s The Four Devils — strange and suggestive, as dreams can be.
Matt Barry’s latest — laugh or cry, your choice . . .