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Carny Talk


CaveGirl
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Having always had a thwarted desire to be a gandy dancer in a carnival, and also having dealt with a lot of rubes in my time, I am attracted to anything to do with this medium of entertainment.
 

Now we know, being that the roots of the word come from the Latin for "flesh" and "to put away" [since the term was used in the pre-Lenten days to let off some steam and get it out of one's system] movies about carnivals are always full of passion and exciting storylines.

 

Now even though all the participants are mostly dead in "Carnival of Souls" that was the film that first got me into carnivals. Any film with carnival in the title I am likely to watch, even if it be "Carnival Rock" from 1957. And though is sounds lame it does have the Corman repertory company of Dick Miller AND Jonathan Haze, plus a lead role by cult bizarro star, Susan Cabot.

 

I also remember loving the Sherlock Holmes film with Basil Rathbone at the carnival, breaking off the arm of a babydoll to gain entrance, but that's another story.

 

Please share your favorite carnival films of any genre, and circus oriented films are okay too!

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I don't know of many(if any) carnival oriented movies from yore, but many have scenes that take place in carnivals( STRANGERS ON A TRAIN for one)  But in more contemporary times, the movie CARNY(1980) with GARY BUSEY, JODIE FOSTER and The Band's ROBBIE ROBERTSON is one.

 

Then of course, you might wish to add STATE FAIR( either version or both) to the list as well. Or-----

 

IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD'S FAIR

 

the movie ACE IN THE HOLE(1951) was released with the title change THE BIG CARNIVAL, so I guess that may count too.

 

Other than those, I got nothin'.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Circus:

 

"Trapeze" (1956)--Triangle film with Burt Lancaster, Gina Lollobrigida, and Tony Curtis--who will end up with who, & will they do the death-defying triple(?) flip?

 

"Circus World" (1964)--John Wayne and Rita Hayworth in a Samuel Bronston box-office flop--I saw on late night television many years ago.  Was a hybrid of circus and disaster film.  Henry Hathaway directed.

 

Carnival:  

 

"Freaks" (1932)--Tod Browning horror film set at a carnival.

 

"Nightmare Alley" (1947)--Tyrone Power in a carnival Noir.

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I don't know of many(if any) carnival oriented movies from yore, but many have scenes that take place in carnivals( STRANGERS ON A TRAIN for one)  But in more contemporary times, the movie CARNY(1980) with GARY BUSEY, JODIE FOSTER and The Band's ROBBIE ROBERTSON is one.

 

Then of course, you might wish to add STATE FAIR( either version or both) to the list as well. Or-----

 

IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD'S FAIR

 

the movie ACE IN THE HOLE(1951) was released with the title change THE BIG CARNIVAL, so I guess that may count too.

 

Other than those, I got nothin'.

 

 

Sepiatone

Sepia, how are things in "Yore"?

 

I've not been there for awhile. Is it still in Pennsylvania?

 

Thanks for your many great submissions!

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Having always had a thwarted desire to be a gandy dancer in a carnival, and also having dealt with a lot of rubes in my time, I am attracted to anything to do with this medium of entertainment. 

 

I don't think I've ever heard the word "gandy."

 

What does it mean in your sentence, CaveGirl?

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Sepia, how are things in "Yore"?

 

I've not been there for awhile. Is it still in Pennsylvania?

 

Thanks for your many great submissions!

Thank you for that.  But a friend of mine recently quipped,

 

"You know how you hear a lot of people use the phrase BACK IN THE DAY?  Well, for many of them AND us, we should at times use BACK IN THE NIGHT to refer to a point in history when we were all pretty much in the dark!"

 

Heh---LIKE that!  :D

 

 

Sepiatone

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Elvis Presley isn't half-bad, and neither is the movie ROUSTABOUT (1964) co-starring the always reliable Barbara Stanwyck as a carnival owner who hires him. It might be the last movie in which Elvis plays the rebel type and before his switch to primarily playing the swinging bachelor roles in those lightweight musicals.

 

(...and besides, it features a carny favorite...a "Wall of Death" motor drome...can't beat THAT!)

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Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962): A movie about a circus and an elephant named "Jumbo", starring Jimmy Durante as the circus-owner, Martha Raye as his long-time fiance (Guys and Dolls, anyone?), Doris Day as his daughter, and Stephen Boyd (of Ben-Hur) as the young man who has somewhat ulterior motives... This film was really enjoyable; I am a fan of Miss Day's as well as Durante and Raye. It was interesting to see Martha Raye for a second time in this since my first encounter with her was the 1939 Bob Hope film "Never Say Die."

 

All in all, it was rather good.

 

Another thing I have watched recently, is the American Horror Story installment called "Freak Show." This one I would NOT recommend for anyone who is unnerved by the sight of blood. There is a fair amount of violence in this one; I mostly watched for Jessica Lange, and for Sarah Paulson, who plays the conjoined twins, Dot and Bette ("Bet"). It was cool to see an inside glance into a "freak show" and see how close-knit a community they all were. The acting is phenomenal; it takes place in the 1950's, so that's a bonus.

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