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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
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:

 »
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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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bing Crosby, Bob Hope: Two circus spectators during the musical song "Lovely Luawana Lady" (sung by Dorothy Lamour, Lamour portrayed Phyllis); after the first lyric there s a musical interval while Lamour is resting her voice for the second lyric of the song. Hope, Crosby, and Lamour famously co-starred in the Road to Singapore (1940), Road to Morocco (1942), Road to Utopia (1945) and several other "Road" pictures. See more »

Goofs

When Brad is checking the baby gorillas after learning they may have contracted the mumps, a crowd of onlookers is gathered right behind, plainly staring at the camera filming the scene. See more »

Quotes

[Phyllis is having her hair washed by Birdie as heart-throb Sebastian approaches;]
Phyllis: Why is it whenever he's around I'm all wet?
Birdie: In more ways than one.
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Greatest Show on Earth (1963) 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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