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The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Not Rated | | Drama, Family, Romance | May 1952 (USA)
The dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer are told against a background of circus spectacle.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Emmett Kelly
Cucciola ...
Cucciola
Antoinette Concello ...
Antoinette Concello
John Ringling North ...
John Ringling North
Tuffy Genders ...
Tuffy Genders
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John Ridgely ...
Assistant Manager
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Storyline

To ensure a full profitable season, circus manager Brad Braden engages The Great Sebastian, though this moves his girlfriend Holly from her hard-won center trapeze spot. Holly and Sebastian begin a dangerous one-upmanship duel in the ring, while he pursues her on the ground. Subplots involve the secret past of Buttons the Clown and the efforts of racketeers to move in on the game concessions. Let the show begin! Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Thrill to Cecil B. DeMille's pageantry and excitement! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

May 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$36,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite his background as a real life circus acrobat Burt Lancaster was once again declined for a role in this film due to his liberal politics, that of Cornel Wilde's trapeze artist, which Cecil B. DeMille regretted when he learned that Wilde was afraid of heights. See more »

Goofs

In one scene Buttons the clown is wrapping cloth tape around Holly's trapeze bar. He wraps it for about a third of its length then lays it down. When he lays it down it is clear that there is almost no tape left on the roll. When he picks it back up a short time later the bar is wrapped almost three quarters of the way and the roll of tape is much bigger. See more »

Quotes

Klaus: You always have a smile for that high-flying peacock.
Angel: Well, what do you want me to do, cry over him?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Big Time Operators (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Dream Lover
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Victor Schertzinger
Performed by the orchestra during an acrobatic performance in one of the circus scenes
See more »

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User Reviews

It sure is.

This is my favorite Cecil B. DeMille picture and it rightfully deserves it's title. The cast is well cast. Heston makes a fine circus manager and a perfect "don't take nothing from nobody" type of guy when it comes to dealing with local gamblers. Cornell Wilde is perfect as the typical heart-throb of a trapezist. Betty Hutton is good as the daring young star fighting for the center ring. Last, but certainly not the least, James Stewart is wonderful as the lonely clown with a terrifying secret (I will not give it away!!! See the movie!!!). Cecil was a man of tremendous persona with a hunger for showcasing spectacle by means of careful, intense, and thorough research. He achieves amazing success in portraying (to the best of his ability of the times) the most realistic circus acts without the use of raw footage, and covering the stories behind the characters involved. The thing that really moves everything along though, is the musical score. Two words on that GOOD GOD!!! The music will make you want to go to the circus, even if you didn't like this picture. For those of you who didn't like this picture, why not go to the circus instead? You may be entertained to the point that you'll end up silencing your bad reviews. I'm not saying you have top like this picture, but if you haven't seen it yet, and it's because of the certain bad reviews it got from some people, you're really going to miss something.


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