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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 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:

Incomparable! Incredible! 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)
 »

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

The unsolved crime Buttons the clown was wanted for, was for killing his ailing wife. A newspaper page, that Ruth the elephant nearly ate, reveals it as (in red letters & in a 2 line title) Top line: "He Killed the Thing He Loved". Lower line: "then vanished--WHERE IS HE TODAY?" would show, but the page had a tear on the page where the question mark belongs. See more »

Goofs

When Mickey Mouse and other Walt Disney characters walk around the ring, the band plays the song "It's A Hap-Hap-Happy Day" from Gulliver's Travels, which was released by Paramount, not Disney. See more »

Quotes

[first lnes]
Narrator: We bring you the circus, pied piper whose magic tunes greet children of all ages, from six to 60, into a tinsel and spun-candy world of reckless beauty and mounting laughter and whirling thrills; of rhythm, excitement and grace; of blaring and daring and dance; of high-stepping horses and high-flying stars. But behind all this, the circus is a massive machine whose very life depends on discipline and motion and speed. A mechanized army on wheels, that rolls over any obstacle in its ...
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Connections

Referenced in An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997) 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
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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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