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 »
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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
I think previous commentators have missed the boat on this. The film is a matter of the director overcoming the star. Joe Cook's shtick wears thin. His first encounter with the store owner is droll, but a series of non-sequiters do not make a comedy. Capra's direction is brilliant. (Spolier:) Obviously, the elephant pushing the fat lady is a tour de force, and the riot and fire at the climax are spectacular, but notice his great tracking shots. The camera follows characters as they saunter through the circus. What was worth seeing and preserving here is not Cook's quaint act, but the way of life of the circus, a "Water for Elephants" scene.
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