After her father's death, Mary Rainey takes over the Rainey Circus (which operates twice daily, rain or shine) but runs into financial troubles. In one bit reminiscent of the Marx Brothers,... See full summary »
After her father's death, Mary Rainey takes over the Rainey Circus (which operates twice daily, rain or shine) but runs into financial troubles. In one bit reminiscent of the Marx Brothers, the circus performers are up to some ridiculous antics at a dinner party with the family of Bud Conway, Mary's beau. As times become worse and the performers go on strike, Mary must try to save the circus from rioting patrons. Written by
Think of THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH (1952) done on the cheap and a small scale, very small scale. RAIN OR SHINE (1930) is based upon lead actor Joe Cook's Broadway Show of 1928. In which Mr. Cook single handedly performs as if he was the entire Circus. That is recreated in this Capra film along with all the clichés of the Genre. Bankrupt Circus, Sheriff at the door and the inevitable Fight and Fire. Plenty of stereotypical characters, so if you are P.C. thin skinned you had better skip this one.
Joe Cook as SMILEY JOHNSON saves the Circus for Louise Fazenda as FRANKIE, 'The Princess' only too see it go up in smoke in the last reel. Cook's style was that of VAUDEVILLE, where a rather overbearing character is the center of attraction and supposedly well liked. Cook is unremitting in hammering the audience with his act which does not let up for the entire picture. In fact he probably acted this way 24/7 which makes me feel sad for his significant other.
By 1930 VAUDEVILLE was on its last legs. Beginning in Circa 1880 it was a popular live entertainment particularly for the 'middle class'. By 1920 though Silent Pictures had been established as a major threat. Then mid-decade came Radio, home entertainment provided for free which many Vaudevillians took advantage of, transferring their talents too the new medium. The Great Depression and by 1930 the perfection of the Sound Film, created the death blow. The theaters that supported VAUDEVILLE either closed or converted to movies, those who could cut it either moved too film or radio. As for live performance, you were either on Broadway or you did not count at all. Cook continued with success on Broadway where his style of acting could be tolerated. Film definitely was not his medium.
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