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Under the Big Top (1938)

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A pretty young circus trapeze artist is pushed by her domineering aunt to be the best aerialist in the world. When she begins to fall for one of the two men in her act, her mother ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (original story) (as Lewellyn Hughes)
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Complete credited cast:
Sara Post
Anne Nagel ...
Ricardo Le Grande (as Jack LaRue)
Grant Richards ...
Pablo Le Grande
Fred 'Snowflake' Toones ...
Juba (as Snowflake)
Herbert Rawlinson ...
George Cleveland ...
Rolfe Sedan ...
Charlene Wyatt ...
Penny as a Child
Harry Harvey ...


A pretty young circus trapeze artist is pushed by her domineering aunt to be the best aerialist in the world. When she begins to fall for one of the two men in her act, her mother determines to break up the romance. So does the other trapeze artist, who is also in love with her. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

aunt | circus | niece | love triangle | See All (4) »


Tense drama on the trapeze 100 ft. above the sawdust... and only a split second to make a decision that meant death!


Drama | Romance





Release Date:

31 August 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Circus Comes to Town  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Gives trapeze artists a bad name!
8 January 2006 | by (Vancouver) – See all my reviews

'Under The Big Top' falls under the very, very small subgenre of movies that are not only about circuses, but about acrobats! Let's see, there's Trapeze, The Greatest Show On Earth, and now this movie! This is all about a girl named Penny, who literally grows up in the circus and becomes the BEST Trapeze artist in the WORLD! Actually, when we see the act, it's nothing special, but if the movie says they are, then they must be! Anyways, she is brought up by her aunt, a stage mother if there ever was one, who dictates everything about Penny's life. When she finds out Penny's fooling around with one of the other two male trapeze artists in the act, she is not at all happy, and hey, guess what? Neither is the other male trapeze artist, who had the hots for Penny herself! So there is some great sexual tension going on there, which is fun in a wild environment such as this. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't explore that any further, instead going towards the clichéd 'Will Penny make it in time to rescue her sick Aunt?' routine. But not before finding out the spurned trapeze artist developed an alcohol problem! So so much you could have done with this wild story, but it literally, and I'm sorry for this awful pun, falls on it's face.

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