The Big Circus (1959)
Victor Mature, in one of his last leading man performances, plays Hank Whirling, the owner of a financially shaky circus who is trying to get back on his feet, despite cutthroat competition from a rival organization. He also has a younger sister (Kathryn Grant) to watch out for. After arranging for a bank loan, he discovers that he's got two new members of "management" to contend with: persnickety bank officer Randy Sherman (Red Buttons), who is put there to safeguard the loan, and press agent Helen Harrison (Rhonda Fleming), who is hired by Sherman to help get the Whirling Circus some publicity. Hank can't abide the presence of either of them, or, more to the point, the idea of sharing his authority, though Randy means well and Helen is very good to look at and does know her job. The circus owner can barely take the time to deal with either of them, however, with shows to give and an apparent saboteur at work, who grows bolder with each passing day and finally starts getting people killed. In the course of trying to save the show, aerialist Zack Colino (Gilbert Roland) commits himself to a headline-making publicity stunt -- covered heavily by television news as well -- that Helen merely rattles off without thinking, of walking a wire across Niagara Falls. Colino also figures heavily in the denouement, a tense chase under the big top that develops as the man responsible for the train wrecks, escaped animals, fires, and other sabotage is identified and goes on the run. … More
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