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The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Family, Romance  |  May 1952 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 8,707 users  
Reviews: 100 user | 43 critic

The dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer against a background of circus spectacle.

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

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Johnny Slate is the big boss who successfully keeps the circus running as it moves from town to town. He manages to deal with the unexpected frequently and uses Otto King, the accountant, as a sounding boarding

Stars: Jack Palance, Stuart Erwin, Michael Consoldane
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Himself
Cucciola ...
Himself
Antoinette Concello ...
Herself
John Ringling North ...
Himself
Tuffy Genders ...
Himself
John Kellogg ...
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:

The Heartbeat Story of Circus People, Filmed with the Cooperation of Ringling Bros. - Barnum and Bailey Circus! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film was shot in 35mm three-strip Technicolor, Paramount did shoot some test footage on the set using its newly developed wide-screen process Vistavision which ran 35mm film horizontally through the camera, exposing two standard frames, eight perforations wide. The footage still resides in the Paramount film library. See more »

Goofs

Obvious split-screen background. It is known the production used detailed models for the trains in various scenes, and it is very obvious in the scene where the first section stops at the flare, as the engineer and other crewmen seemingly jump out of thin air to land on the ground next to the train. See more »

Quotes

Buttons' Mother: [just after giving gifts to circus spectators, Buttons secretly goes to his Mother and they whisper to each other] They've been around again, asking questions.
Buttons: [whispering] I know Mother. They'll never find me, behind this nose.
Buttons' Mother: [whispering] Be very careful, dear.
Buttons: [whispering] Now, how about a nice smile, that I can remember until next year?
Buttons' Mother: [whispering] God be with you my boy.
Buttons: [whispering] It's all right Mother.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Big Time Operators (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

An der schönen blauen Donau Walzer (The Blue Danube Waltz) Op. 314
(1867) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauß
Played during the sword swallowing demonstration
See more »

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User Reviews

 
magical movie
11 February 2000 | by (manila, philippines) – See all my reviews

Since this film was released in 1952, some scenes in the film will really be outdated (effects). But other than that, the film is a feast to the eyes and if you're sentimental, to the heart. With a seemingly thin plot, Cecil B. deMille made the film work with visuals and moments of suspense that is missing from a lot of big films nowadays. Mr. deMille is a master of epic films and this is one example. He made the circus one of the main characters in the film, that you will find yourself missing it at this day and age. A guilty pleasure? For me this is a magical pleasure.


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