94% Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Jul 11
100% Boyhood Jul 11
17% Rage Jul 11
25% A Long Way Down Jul 11
—— The Class Of '92 Jul 08

Top Box Office

17% Transformers: Age of Extinction $37.1M
24% Tammy $21.6M
85% 22 Jump Street $9.8M
31% Deliver Us from Evil $9.7M
92% How to Train Your Dragon 2 $9.0M
48% Earth to Echo $8.4M
49% Maleficent $6.2M
53% Jersey Boys $5.2M
24% Think Like a Man Too $4.9M
90% Edge of Tomorrow $3.7M

Coming Soon

—— The Purge: Anarchy Jul 18
—— Sex Tape Jul 18
—— Hercules Jul 25
—— Lucy Jul 25
—— Guardians of the Galaxy Aug 01

Premieres Tonight

85% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1
44% Working the Engels: Season 1

New Episodes Tonight

25% Black Box: Season 1
100% Defiance: Season 2
40% Dominion: Season 1
41% Gang Related: Season 1
86% Maron: Season 2
94% Rectify: Season 2
—— Rookie Blue: Season 5

Discuss Last Night's Shows

—— Graceland: Season 2
—— Hot in Cleveland: Season 5
50% Jennifer Falls: Season 1
—— Motive: Season 2
69% Mystery Girls: Season 1
—— Rogue: Season 2
100% Suits: Season 4
38% Taxi Brooklyn: Season 1
—— Wilfred: Season 4
43% Young & Hungry: Season 1

At the Circus Reviews

Page 1 of 5

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
This isn't one of my favourite Marx Brothers movies. First of all, I didn't like that really long song with Harpo and the Black kids. Second, the circus seems like the natural habitat for the Marx Brothers, so they don't stand out as much. It is funny most of the time, but I didn't like the story.

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2010
Not my favorite Marx Bros. film. It has some funny bits in it, but it's hampered by exposition...and the magic just doesn't seem to be there.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

August 30, 2007
By no means there best work, and certianly there most un even. There are scenes of pure illogical insanity followed by those of mind numbing exposition.

However, This probably has the Marx brothers finest musical moments, specifically "Lydia the Tattooed Lady,"
Byron B

Super Reviewer

December 17, 2007
Back to MGM, but with Mervyn LeRoy producing. Kenny Baker, no not the Kenny Baker from Star Wars, another Kenny Baker who was in musicals in the 30's and 40's, is Jeff who wants to pay off Carter so he can have sole ownership of this circus. He has the money ready to pay. His romantic interest is Rice as Julie. They have what looks like a very old fashioned relationship with the man in his place and the woman in her place. The songs they share are hokey and not very engaging. Chico assists Jeff and Harpo is a clown in the strong man act. This is probably the source of some of the inspiration for La Strada. Carter for some unknown reason wants to ruin the circus, but somehow keep it for himself too. He has Arden as Peerless Pauline, Pendleton as Goliath, a midget, and a handful of other thugs do his dirty work. Jeff's money is stolen and Chico sends for Groucho as Attorney Loophole. The Marx Brothers play at detective work till finally Groucho goes to Dumont again to find another way to get the money to save the circus. This is one of the more disjointed plots. Chico plays another number on the piano. Groucho gets to sing a full song this time, the naughty and frolicking Lydia, The Tattoed Lady. I was not aware of this song, yet this whole fourth season of Heroes involving the carnival has made use of this character that Groucho describes. Harpo is putting lions to sleep when out of nowhere a huge crowd of African American children and adults show up to dance and sing a jazz/swing number with him like in A Day at the Races. The song is called Swingali by Harburg and Arlen who did the music for The Wizard of Oz the same year, but it sounds like a medley with a major piece of Blue Moon and other tunes. It is upbeat and adds some energy to the movie though it is badly synched. The only thing that saves the musical break is Harpo's consistently amazing strumming on the harp. There are still a few good one liners and physical gags, but they are not as well timed for the most part. When Groucho is snooping around Peerless Pauline's tent, she slips the stolen money down the front of her sequined leotard in her cleavage and he has one of the best lines about trying to get it without upsetting the Hays Office.
Anthony V

Super Reviewer

July 17, 2008
Not one of their best, but still amusing. Groucho sings Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
March 15, 2014
The Marx Brothers were so fantastic and frantic in their Paramount Days, MGM kind of tamed them. I like "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races" had more plot, and less focus on the antics and general nuttiness of the Brothers, but they were still classic Marx humor. But at a certain point, their films felt less madcap and just weren't as much fun to watch. "At the Circus" is only has some good circus nuttiness and some okay Marx routines, but it is not nearly as hilarious as their earlier efforts. Better than "Go West", but probably on par with "Room Service".
April 20, 2012
An enjoyable Marx Bros. movie. Their comedy still works after all these years. When the antics were happening the movie flowed quite well. Unfortunately, the musical portions stop the movie in its tracks.

While I do enjoy a good musical, the songs are always my least favorite part of a Marx Bros. movie While Lydia the Tattooed Lady is from this movie, and Groucho is fun to watch during that number, the songs with the tenor are of the style of the time, and choreographed simplistically and poorly that they really date the movie. And Harpo playing the Harp is always fun to see, but that number is a complete tangent to the plot.

There is enough funny Marx Bros. here to make it worth the wait through the songs, and you could actually fast forward through them to get to the next scene and not have to worry about missing a plot point; they are that unrelated to the rest of the film. Recommend.
January 28, 2010
The Marx Brothers are always highly entertaining. This may not be considered one of their best, but it's one of my personal favorites. Perhaps because it was the first film to introduce me to the genius of the Marx Brothers. Although in black and white, you can still imagine a colorful circus setting. I also think "Lydia The Tattooed Lady" is one of their most memorable musical numbers.
July 29, 2007
The boys are on a downhill slide, but this one has some classic bits. And Groucho sings "Lydia The Tattooed Lady."
April 2, 2014
/) Proof positive MGM was slowly killing the Marx Brothers brand. The film would be a waste of time were it not for the occasional burst of brilliance from Groucho, Harpo and Chico interrupting the bland storyline and the even duller musical interludes, that is, except for Groucho's classic "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady."
April 2, 2014
Aficionados will appreciate many of these scenes.
May 23, 2013
Thanks to a brazen theft, a dippy circus owner (Kenny Baker) may lose his business to a shifty creditor (James Burke). His salvation comes at the hands of Groucho, Harpo, and Chico. At The Circus has some funny antics, but it's markedly inferior to the films that preceded it. While not terrible, I have high standards for Marx fare and I can't find myself recommending it to anyone but the most zealous of classic comedy buffs.
Matthew J.
November 24, 2012
Every laugh is sincere, every joke is harsh and every moment is carefully calculated to the second, and everything hits the target.
January 17, 2012
Classic Marx Bros. schtick and a great foil in Margaret Dumont. Not to be missed. A gem.
July 15, 2011
More Gallivanting

The first time I tried to watch this, which is part of a four-movie set, the disc went all screwy right in the middle of "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady." Now, this song has nothing to do with anything. It's just Groucho performing to the circus people because he wants to perform for the circus people. This is how Marx Brothers movies work; the musical numbers very seldom have anything to do with the story, and we don't expect them to. However, this is probably one of the only songs the average person can name which ever appeared in a Marx Brothers movie, and this is in no small part because the song is just so much fun. It's theoretically a love song, but not in any real sense of the term. Supposedly, the singer is in love with Lydia, but she does go and marry someone else. It's more a fascination song, I think--he just finds her intriguing and wants to share what's interesting about her with, in this case, a bunch of circus performers. Which basically means that this was the worst possible place for the disc to screw up, because it's the part of the movie which is the most interesting. Naturally, I could have skipped the love song between the Unnecessary Romantic Duo.

In this case, they are Jeff Wilson (Kenny Baker) and Julie Randall (Florence Rice). He has walked away from a world of wealth and privilege for the joy of running a circus instead. Like you do. Only he owes a lot of money to John Carter (James Burke), and if he doesn't pay up by the end of the week, Carter is going to take the circus. Jeff had the money, but it disappeared. His friend and random circus worker, Antonio (Chico), calls his good friend, Attorney Loophole (Groucho), to fix things for Jeff, who will then be able to marry Julie. Also, "Punchy" (Harpo) is the assistant to Goliath (Nat Pendleton), the strongman, and there's conflict between them. Goliath hates Punchy, probably because Punchy is incapable of not being funny. And Goliath's act isn't supposed to be. So there's that, and the search for the missing money, and so forth. And then Loophole decides that the easiest way for Jeff to pay off Carter is to regain the goodwill of Jeff's aunt, and if you didn't know she was played by Margaret Dumont, you must have missed that this is a Marx Brothers movie. Here, she is Mrs. Dukesbury, but her character's name doesn't matter any more than that of any of the brothers. The point is that Groucho must wheedle Jeff back into her good graces.

There is also Eve Arden as the Peerless Pauline, whose purpose in the movie I found vague. She's the young, pretty girl to counteract the Margaret Dumont, something intended to clarify that Groucho is only attracted to Margaret Dumont's dollars. I think she's interested in Jeff, and I think she might be involved with Carter in some way, and I think she's interested in the money. And she does express my bewilderment with Julie's act--"Who ever heard of singing in a horse act?" I mean, don't get me wrong. Most of the "acts" are just filler, because this is a Marx Brothers movie, and they somehow feel obligated to fill them up with non-Marx Brothers material. As if anyone watches these movies to hear the ingenue sing. Now, I think Eve Arden could have made an interesting foil for Groucho, certainly more interesting than the real villains in this piece, but then again, the "real villains" of this piece are really something to kill time and give us a reason for whatever is happening to be happening.

Marx Brothers movies are, of course, about wordplay. Harpo did physical comedy, because that was what he was capable of doing, but you watch these movies to hear Groucho crack wise and Chico twist logic. It seems as though the studio never quite got that. Maybe they didn't think it could hold up an entire movie, but I'm quite sure it could. I think people have a strange view of comedy as a medium. Comedy is hard. I think it's probably easier to make someone cry than it is to make them laugh in some ways, and it's certainly true that what makes people cry is more universal. In some ways, this was the genius of the Marx Brothers. Each of the three was funny is a slightly different way, and the humour they produce working together is slightly different even from that. This may be the true essence of great comedy; each element of it should stand on its own but combine with any others to produce something even better. Then again, analyzing comedy has the net effect of pinning it down with the prospect of killing it, so maybe I should stop there.

So far, I have to say that the earliest Marx Brothers movies are the best, Zeppo or no Zeppo. At least Zeppo, as "the handsome one," took away the need for nonentities like Kenny Baker, who was exceptionally bland. Only on very rare occasions are the romantic couples in these movies people who would be interesting enough to support movies on their own. This movie, for example, would be flatly dull without Marx Brothers in it. I have said, many times, that the miracle of 1939 is not that no bad movies were made then, just that the percentage of good movies was higher than in most years and the percentage of great movies possibly the highest ever. Alas for the Marx Brothers, this is not one of the great movies of 1939. It's not that high on the list of good ones, though certainly higher than some of the other Marx Brothers movies we've seen. I am given to understand that, yes, there is such thing as a bad Marx Brothers movie, but I haven't gotten to any yet.
May 11, 2011
Not among my favorites, but this is another Marx Brother Classic.
joe h.
December 8, 2009
Contains a few laughs but there are far better Marx Brothers films. It's good to see Margaret Dumont back in the action, but somehow I don't think Groucho and the others enjoyed doing this film a lot. I think Grouchos lines sound forced.
Daniel H.
March 21, 2009
:fresh: [CENTER]This is much better than Room Service.[/CENTER]
June 2, 2008
There are a few highlight's in this one but overall, it's a pretty bad Marx Bros. movie. The plot is poor to start with, and even though I understand that it is only a vehicle for the Marx Bros. to do their thing, it started annoying me that they were helping these idiot circus owners(?). "Take a Bow" my a**.

Anywho, they do some pretty funny things in other people's carriages (yes, they're on a train), and Groucho has some really good one-liners. But, it lacks the momentum of other titles, and the musical parts are really, really dated. Ughhh...

Uhh boy. Get "Duck Soup" first OK?
Page 1 of 5
Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile