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.
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William A. Wellman
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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 <email@example.com>
Final film of veteran director D. Ross Lederman (although he did not direct but served as Associate Producer). See more »
During the scene at the beginning of the movie, where Dublin is pleading his case before the prison board, the photograph he places in his right breast pocket changes position between camera shots. See more »
Although William A. Wellman took over the direction about halfway through, Ring of Fear (1954) offers middling entertainment at best. It's a "Hand me another shot of the same crowd" movie in which the premier pleasures are Sean McClory's charismatic performance as the maniacal ringmaster, and the circus acts themselves. But although these latter acts would seem a natural for CinemaScope, they are not as prominently featured as we would wish. We do see a lot of hardboiled crime writer Mickey Spillane though, and even more of Clyde Beatty, who is not slow to advertise himself. In the credits and the first few minutes of the film, his name is prominently displayed 28 times. Despite Beatty's fearless big cat taming, he is out-acted by less grand-standing members of the troupe, particularly Emmett Lynn and Pat O'Brien. Marian Carr makes a delectable heroine.
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