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irishbrandy

The greatest Show On Earth

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I was just thinking Wednesday, "I wonder what happened to Dargo?" and there you are!

 

welcome back.

 

I guessing DeMille was pulling out all the stops for he wanted big backing for The Ten Commandments .. It would be his last great production, so he did quite the campaigning for GSOE to prove he could bring in the numbers, and the awards. I bet he called in every favor. It sure seemed like an Oscar campaign to me.

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Singin in the rain shoulda been a contender in that year but wasn't thought of as high art like American in Paris. It only gained in status over time. Greatest Show is exceedingly corny today but is still fun if one can get over the hokiness. I think Charlton Heston of all people comes off the best.

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I 'd add chariots of fire and English patient to the list of overblown winners just not in the same category of corn as greatest show

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Thanks, Char. I was visiting my old stompin' grounds in SoCal for a week or so.

 

And yep, I have a sense your DeMille theory might just hold water.

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>I can't think of all that many circus films...

 

There's a LOT of films set at the circus, like Lon Chaney in The Unknown.

But I think you're right, GSOE is the only movie actually about the circus itself.

 

But my very favorite circus film will always be Freaks. It depicts the "backstage social" aspect as well as the often difficult life of traveling by wagon as many of the smaller circus's were still doing the first half of the 20th century. And it's the only opportunity to see these famous people on film!

 

Along with my beloved sideshow theme, I love when movies show "hooch" shows, like Mae West in I'm No Angel. Even On The Town has a "****"dancing scene in it.

 

One circus friend a long time ago showed me a taxidermy chicken with pig feet sewn to it. A true sideshow "artifact" created by some clever seamstress for display. I asked how he could swindle people showing them that stuff and he said, "It's all in fun. They know it's fake, it's just entertainment."

That was the attitude.

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*TikiSoo wrote: But my very favorite circus film will always be Freaks*

 

That's where I would differentiate between a film like Greatest Show on Earth and Freaks. One, clearly, is a family-oriented depiction of life under the Big Top, while the other I would classify as a carny film, with an emphasis upon the seediness of an alternate lifestyle.

 

The only other true circus films that come to mind are The Big Circus and Circus World, both of them colourful and cliche-ridden. The circus films, including the DeMille film, will never get high marks for great originality in their screenplays. It will, instead, be the atmosphere or the casts or a certain sense of melodramatic excitement (a train crash or a big fire) that occupy the viewer's attention.

 

I can't think of that many carny films. Freaks would be the most famous, I think. The early scenes in Nightmare Alley clearly qualify, as well. Even though the film is set in a circus, the creepy seediness of the plot mechanisms of Chaney's The Unknown make it qualify, in my mind, as more of a carny film than anything else. Things don't get much more bizarre than those two Todd Browning films, Freaks and The Unknown.

 

Even though carny films can lend themselves quite beautifully to the world of film noir, I can't think of any noir other than Nightmare Alley that actually tried to use it. At that, I think the underbelly seediness of a carny film, while it could repell some viewers to a degree, can make for much stronger dramatics than the brights colours of a more simple minded, traditional circus film.

 

A film like The Greatest Show on Earth is fun to watch (and it's probably the best circus film ever made), while the carny efforts like Freaks or Nightmare Alley linger in the memory and are taken far more seriously as filmmaking, I think.

 

There's not a lot in common between the likes of

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQjJtXi36fXz5DtPAEWGOM

 

DeMille's endorsement of Ringling Brothers

 

and

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSKuaQfBTQTNlTHNAQrwRmimages?q=tbn:ANd9GcQD7N96bzJdB7Ro0yCDfjS

 

Todd Browning's world of Freaks

 

or

 

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!

 

Edmund Goulding's Nightmare Alley, which, away from its initial carny setting, was one of the few films of the '30s and '40s to explore charlatans' exploitation of man's belief in the hereafter.

 

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Thanks for pointing out my error. I assumed the movie was in widescreen because it starred Charlton Heston. Its a 1:33 to 1 film.

 

Guess "Ben Hur" is too well embedded in my mind. :^0

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I would say that TRAPEZE is a true circus film. Whether one wants to consider CHARLIE CHAN AT THE CIRCUS one would be a matter of personal preference, perhaps it ranks more as a mystery set in a circus, as does THE CIRCUS QUEEN MURDER.

 

There's also CIRCUS OF HORRORS and BERSERK as well as PSYCHO-CIRCUS but perhaps they're horror films first and circus films secondarily.

 

There's Chaplin's THE CIRCUS and 30 years later Danny Kaye was MERRY ANDREW having the time of his life under the big top.

 

Does anyone remember the 1963-64 TV show THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH with Jack Palance and Stu Erwin? I believe it premiered the same night as THE FUGITIVE if my memory is holding up today.

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> {quote:title=TomJH wrote:}{quote}*TikiSoo wrote: But my very favorite circus film will always be Freaks*

>

> That's where I would differentiate between a film like Greatest Show on Earth and Freaks. One, clearly, is a family-oriented depiction of life under the Big Top, while the other I would classify as a carny film, with an emphasis upon the seediness of an alternate lifestyle.

Exactly...I also love FREAKS, but it's really not about the circus itself. It's about the sideshow/carny part of the circus and the human oddities within. The movie is about those people, not about the circus itself.

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Thanks, clore. I had forgotten about some of those titles that you provided, including, incredibly, Chaplin's The Circus (a very good comedy with a circus setting).

 

I can't call myself a big fan of Trapeze but one of the things that I DO like about that film is the authenticity of its atmosphere because I believe that it really was filmed in a European circus.

 

Does anyone remember a '60s television series, International Showtime, hosted by Don Ameche, in which he hosted a presentation of various circuses each week (memory tells me that they were in Europe, but I stand ready to be corrected if some of them were in the U.S., as well).

 

Are there still circuses today? The closest thing that I come to it is going to the Midway at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in the summer. That's no circus, however, it's more of a sideshow, fill of games and cotton candy, and, once upon a time, weight guessers and Fat Ladies.

 

I remember once going into a sideshow tent there in which they claimed that we could see a woman turn into a gorilla. They showed a woman behind bars, and the lights went out. Sure enough, when the lights came up again, there was a "gorilla," who broke through the bars and ran amuck, sending the crowd screaming out of the tent.

 

I was there with a girlfriend at the time. When the gorilla ran crazy in the crowd, I did my best Bob Hope imitation and hid behind the girl, shaking. My girlfriend was laughing the whole time and pointed out the fact that the "gorilla" was wearing adidas. I looked and, sure enough, there were white running shoes on the ape.

 

After the crowd scattered, we were almost the only two still in the tent (I was busy being petrified with fear, of course), and the gorilla went outside the back of the tent. I remember how we were able to watch the outline of the gorilla through the canvas of the tent because it was bright and sunny outside. We watched the gorilla's outline as he walked up some stairs (which would take him to the back of his cage inside the tent), and, just as he got to the top of the stairs, the ape removed his big gorilla head to revel the head of the occupant of the costume. That, in turn, made me scream louder than ever.

 

It was a fun experience, the closest I've come to carny life. But ever since then I've always been suspicious of anyone who claimed he could turn himself into an ape.

 

 

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*The only other true circus films that come to mind are The Big Circus and Circus World, both of them colourful and cliche-ridden. The circus films, including the DeMille film, will never get high marks for great originality in their screenplays. It will, instead, be the atmosphere or the casts or a certain sense of melodramatic excitement (a train crash or a big fire) that occupy the viewer's attention.*

 

There is also CHAD HANNA, of which I had posted the following here earlier:

 

An interesting precursor to Dottie Lamour's role in TGSOE is her performance as a circus performer in 1940's CHAD HANNA, which she made on loan to Fox. Sh played a stuntwoman riding standing on horseback, in mid-19th Century Upstate New York. Also starring are Henry Fonda as the smitten rube who follows her into the circus, and Linda Darnell as another small town runaway, who takes over Dorothy's role once Lamour is lured to a larger outfit. Quite colorful and and enjoyable, if slower paced than the later blockbuster.

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Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls of all ages!

 

Presenting Frank Capra's one and only circus extravaganza of 1930, Columbia Pictures', "Rain or Shine"!

 

Watch Joan Peers as Mary Rainey, young female bareback rider, manage her father's circus after his death. The Rainey Circus! With performances twice daily, rain or shine!

 

Chortle at the antics of Joe Cook, Broadway musical comedy star aka "Mr. One-Man Vaudeville", as Smiley Johnson!

 

Gasp in amazement that this cinematic tour de cirque is the non-muscial version of the 1928 Broadway musical, "Rain or Shine" (written by playwright turned character actor, James Gleason) ... Songs? We don't need 'em! We don't got 'em!

 

Revel in the thrills, the spills, the romatic turmoil that can only be found in the world of the big top!

 

Steel yourselves for the firey fearsome finale!

 

Thanks for indulging me in some ringmaster fun. Actually, "Rain or Shine", 1930, stands out for me because of its "real circus", behind the scenes, on location feel. Pre-Codes are at the top of my list of favorites and "Rain or Shine" has a special spot there. Recorded it in 2009 on TCM and see that it's in the "Frank Capra: The Early Collection" DVD set.

 

Roxanne

(Lovin' TCM since 1995. Even taught my mother to program the old VCR for me when I was living away from home and TCM-less ...)

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> {quote:title=TomJH wrote:}{quote}

> Are there still circuses today? The closest thing that I come to it is going to the Midway at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in the summer. That's no circus, however, it's more of a sideshow, fill of games and cotton candy, and, once upon a time, weight guessers and Fat Ladies.

>

 

 

We still took our son to Ringling's every year when he was young. The emphasis is much more on production song and dance numbers than the old days. We also have been to smaller tent circuses that travel around our area, like the Cole Bros..

 

BTW, TCM does have a circus themed film on the schedule in January, FIXER DUGAN with Lee Tracy and Virginia Weidler. I suspect it isn't very good, although I haven't seen it.

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>Does anyone remember a '60s television series, International Showtime

 

Nope, but I remember Circus Of The Stars in which marginal celebrities learned difficult physical routines then performed in front of an audience.

 

How could I forget about Trapeze? I just finished Burt Lancaster's biography! I think that film was an excellent portrayal of a performer's life.

 

>Are there still circuses today?

 

There is the *big* traveling US circus: Ringling Bros/Barnum/Bailey where stuff is going on all over 3 rings-too confusing.

 

I much prefer The Big Apple Circus, based here in upstate NY. They have fun acts, large animals and set up stadium seating AROUND the sawdust ring. When the elephants charge in, you can SMELL them, it's amazingly intimate. And their lead clown "Grandma" is everything a clown should be, a total heart stealer. For all those that think clowns are scary or stupid, Grandma will show you what it's really all about.

 

I believe The Royal Hannaford Circus is still performing. Most of the performers are family and descendants of the original performers, it's totally a family tradition. They specialize in "horse" acts and trapeze-thrilling!

 

There is a "filler" short TCM sometimes shows about the famous Christiani circus family. They also specialized in "horse" and "arial" acts, but for the most part working in the private sector. I know one of the Christiani girls (who is about 50 & drop dead gorgeous) who raises & trains horses in the Saratoga area.

 

In my 20's I was on a flight seated next to a trapeze artist. He was also a hard sell make-out artist....guess nothing has changed in the social aspect of circus performers, haha.

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I like *Ring of Fear*, starring Mickey Spillane, and Clyde Beatty. Made in 1954, it's a CinemaScope Technicolor whodunit. TCM has shown it a couple of times.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047416/

 

When I was a little kid, back in the 50s, a favorite TV show of mine was Circus Boy, starring Mickey Dolenz.

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THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH is ludicrous dramatically; its real value is in its documentation of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus the way it was under canvas, something they abandoned in the late 1950s. As such, it's a priceless record of a piece of long-gone Americana.

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Sprocket_Man wrote:

<< THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH is ludicrous dramatically; its real value is in its documentation of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus the way it was under canvas, something they abandoned in the late 1950s. As such, it's a priceless record of a piece of long-gone Americana. >>

 

So were steam locomotives pulling the circus trains (and everything else). During the 1950's the nations railroads switched from steam to diesel, West Virginia was the last holdout ( a long holdout at that) with the last S class switcher dropping its boiler in May 1960 ending the era of steam.

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*"THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH is ludicrous dramatically; its real value is in its documentation of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus the way it was under canvas, something they abandoned in the late 1950s. As such, it's a priceless record of a piece of long-gone Americana."* - SproketMan

 

True. (This is a point that TikiSoo also made pages ago.) I appreciate the film's existence just for that alone - though the train crash is pretty stunning too. What surprises me is how poorly the film presents the infrastructure of the "Big Top" on a day-to-day basis.

 

The films doesn't bring the same level of "awesomeness" to the circus that *The Ten Commandments* brings to the creation and building being done by Moses in the desert for his "father". When the obelisk goes up successfuly in the new city, that is a "whoa!" moment. And there is a great reveal of the majesticness of the entire creation with the pulling back of a curtain to show all that was built in the middle of nowhere. (I understand how matte paintings may make that easy.)

 

But the act of raising the big top isn't allowed that same presentation. Nor the set-up of the Sideshow area or the preparations and spectacle of the circus parade through town. That's too bad.

 

Still, maybe it was superflous to show all that in the 1950s. Perhaps the audience was already familiar with the "workings" of the circus from first-hand experience and didn't need to be shown that kind of spectacle. (Unfortunately, even the circus acts in the film are little underwhelming too.) It may be extraordinary only to a 21st Century viewer which attends the circus inside an arena these days.

 

*The Greatest Show On Earth* could have benefitted from a scene as simple as the one of Margaret O'Brien seeing the circus elephants at the train station that is at the heart of *Our Vines Have Tender Grapes*. So it is disappointing that the "greatness" of the circus is missing from the film at both the spectacle level and the intimate, emotional level. If some of that was included, the film may be better remembered today.

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