The Big Circus (1959)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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as Helen Harrison
as Henry Jasper 'Hank' ...
as Randy Sherman
as Jeannie Whirling
as Hans Hagenfeld
as Tommy Gordon
as Mama Colino
as Mr. Lomax
as Jonathan Nelson
as Guest Star
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Everything but the kitchen sink is thrown in to this colorful pageant about the struggle for a circus's survival . It's bright but empty however Peter Lorre playing a clown is genius casting.
There's always a first time.
Hank Jasper Whirling is a circus owner who talks a bank into helping financially back his circus. The bank sends a man to oversee the investment. Shortly after he secures the financial backing, rains come, a saboteur emerges, and the circus starts losing money putting the show at risk. Can Hank and the circus folks find the person responsible and bring them to a stop?
"Walk across Niagara Falls."
"You mean on the water?"
Joseph Newman, director of Dangerous Crossing, The Island Earth, A Thunder of Drums, Kiss of Fire, Fort Massacre, The Gunfight at Dodge City, and Red Skies of Montana, delivers The Big Circus. The storyline for this picture is okay and fun to watch unfold. This isn't completely predictable and there is a nice blend of fascinating characters. The cast is pretty amazing and includes Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Victor Mature, Red Buttons, Rhonda Fleming, Kathryn Grant, and Gilbert Roland.
"I'm never going to forget this, mister."
"I've already forgotten you. Now get out of here."
I DVR'd this picture last Halloween season because it starred Peter Lorre and Vincent Price. This was definitely an above average drama because it had wonderful actors and characters; however, the primary plot could have been a lot better. This could have been better but is definitely worth a viewing.
"Everybody has to die."
Low-budget version of DeMille's "The Greatest Show on Earth." Here, future Master-of-Disaster Irwin Allen stages a couple minor disasters, and has one off camera (a train wreck, like in TGSOE). Is it wrong that I wanted to see the train wreck on camera? C'mon, it's Irwin Allen, creator of "The Poseidon Adventure," etc. Oh, well!
The movie's pretty routine, routinely cast, with the exception of Red Buttons, who is very good. Lots of melodrama, but some good circus sequences. And, it's in CinemaScope, unlike TGSOE, which came out a year before the widescreen process.
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