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Ring of Fear (1954)

Approved | | Adventure, Mystery | 24 July 1954 (USA)
The Clyde Beatty Circus seems jinxed, falling victim again and again to apparent accidents which are actually the acts of a murderous saboteur. Mystery writer Mickey Spillane comes on the scene to solve the case.


, (uncredited)


(original screenplay), (original screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Mickey Spillane ...
Mickey Spillane
Frank Wallace
Dublin O'Malley
Marian Carr ...
Valerie St. Dennis
Armand St. Dennis
Pedro Gonzales (as Gonzalez-Gonzales)
Jack Stang ...
Jack Stang
Kathy Cline ...
Suzette St. Dennis


Three psychiatrists find that Dublin O'Malley has homicidal tendencies, an under-diagnosis at best. O'Malley kills a guard, escapes from the mental institution, and then kills a railroad worker. He changes clothes with the dead man and pushes the corpse in front of a train. He then heads for the Clyde Beatty Circus, having a yen for aerialist Valerie St. Dennis, now married to her partner. O'Malley is also seeking revenge against Beatty. He approaches alcoholic clown, Twitchy, and, between booze and blackmail, forces Twitchy to commit acts of sabotage against the circus. The performers think the show is jinxed, so Beatty asks crime-author Mickey Spillane to come by and see what he can do about the situation, and the show's general manager, Frank Wallace, agrees to give him full cooperation and isn't seen much anymore. Spillane brings in Jack Stang to help him. Twitchy is about to go to Beatty and tell all, but O'Malley kills him and makes it look like an accident. But the fictional ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

circus | escape | accident | tiger | worker | See All (63) »




Adventure | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

24 July 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Man-Killer  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System) (magnetic prints)| (optical prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Originally intended to be photographed in 3-D and to be titled "Man-Killer." See more »


In the scene where Dublin coerces Twitchy into sabotaging Armand St. Dennis's trapeze, right before Dublin leaves Twitchy is holding in his hands the handkerchief that he's been using as he applies his makeup; in the next shot, as Dublin leaves, he's clutching the bottle of liquor that Dublin has plied him with; in the shot after that, he is once again holding the handkerchief. See more »


Referenced in Marty (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

Great Circus Show, Weak Plot and Acting
1 April 2009 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

After being analyzed by three psychologists and considered schizophrenic with homicidal tendencies, the former ringmaster Dublin O'Malley (Sean McClory) subdues the guard that is escorting him to his room and escapes from the mental institution where he is interned. He travels by train and later he attacks a worker and swaps the clothing, throwing the man on the trail of an approaching train. Then he goes to the city where the Clyde Beatty Circus is camped, seeking revenge against the lion tamer Clyde Beatty and also seeking out his former lover, the trapeze artist Valerie St. Dennis (Marian Carr). Valerie is married with her mate Armand St. Dennis (John Bromfield), with whom they have a daughter. Dublin meets the alcoholic clown Twitchy (Emmett Lynn) and uses booze to force him to sabotage the circus. Then Dublin is hired by Frank Wallace (Pat O'Brien) to his former position. Frank also brings the writer Mickey Spillane and detective Jack Stang to investigate the sabotages and make clear to the superstitious performers that there is no jinx in the circus. When Dublin kills Twitchy, the smart investigators find evidences that he might be a maniac killer.

"Ring of Fear" is a weird and disappointing movie, with a forgettable story, many non-actors performing themselves and filmed in a circus. The result is a great circus show, but with a predictable weak plot and terrible performances. In the end, it is better off going to the circus than watching this flick. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Circo do Medo" ("The Circus of the Fear")

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Ring of Fear (1954) viejo38
Another film set in a circus,f ilmed in CinemaScope is Trapeze (1956) simonhowson
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