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3 Ring Circus (1954)

 -  Comedy  -  22 January 1955 (Japan)
5.9
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Another movie with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Jerry and Pete are two friends with no money, looking for some job. They finally find one as workers in a circus, but Jerry has different ... See full summary »

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Wallace Ford ...
Sig Ruman ...
Colonel Fritz Schlitz
Gene Sheldon ...
Nick Cravat ...
Timmy
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Storyline

Another movie with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Jerry and Pete are two friends with no money, looking for some job. They finally find one as workers in a circus, but Jerry has different dreams. He wants to become a clown... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Tame a lion. Get shot out of a cannon. Wash an elephant. Jerrico will do anything to become a circus clown.

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Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

22 January 1955 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Big Top  »

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(Perspecta Sound encoding) (Western Electric Recording)

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In August 1955 writers George Beck and Samuel Locke filed a $65,000 infringement lawsuit against Paramount and Hal B. Wallis, claiming that Wallis had hired them to write a circus story for Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, entitled Big Top, which Wallis later rejected. The disposition of the suit is not known. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Time to Shave
(uncredited)
Performed by Jerry Lewis
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User Reviews

 
3 RING CIRCUS (Joseph Pevney, 1954) **
1 July 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

As some of you may be aware, I’m no longer that much of a fan of Jerry Lewis – though I did acquire the Paramount 10-disc set of his vehicles recently; growing up I watched a number of them (and also a lot of his teamings with Dean Martin) on Italian TV – and, not having checked out the latter in ages, I was wondering how they held up. Since I can easily lay my hands on the films released on DVD, I opted to give another look to one which, for some reason, has yet to appear on the format and which had certainly been among the first I became acquainted with all those years ago.

I’ve watched scores of films over the years set inside a circus (and should be getting to one more, THE BIG CIRCUS [1959], presently); many comic stars had tried their hand at this exciting and evocative milieu – so it was natural for Lewis (and Martin) to get in on the act as well. Jerry, of course, wants to be a clown but has to go through the ropes first – therefore, we see him as a lion-tamer(!) and, with Martin in tow, sweeping the tents, washing the elephants and as an ice-cream vendor, etc. – inadvertently, he even does a tightrope routine on a bike(!). Soon enough, his antics are getting more laughs than those of the company’s star clown who, naturally, is jealous of all this attention – thus becoming mean in Jerry’s regard, and is generally so soused that he becomes unfit for work! Another clichéd turn-of-events is the fact that the circus (owned by Joanne Dru) would be impoverished if it weren’t for a star attraction in the form of trapeze artist Zsa Zsa Gabor; for this reason, she acts like a diva and, worse for Dru (who, surprise surprise, is attracted to Martin), holds him under her thumb! Helping Dru out is old-timer Wallace Ford – who purports to give the boys a hard time but, predictably, emerges to have a heart of gold underneath; also on hand are Sig Ruman as the veteran lion-tamer and Elsa Lanchester as The Bearded Lady!

Martin (and Lewis) gets to sing a couple of resistible tunes, one of them to a bunch of caged animals!; the soundtrack, then, includes his hit from the previous year “That’s Amore” (first heard in THE CADDY [1953]) and the Paramount standard “Lover” (from the superb Maurice Chevalier/Jeanette MacDonald musical LOVE ME TONIGHT [1932]). Anyway, at the bat of an eyelid, Lewis is awarded the spotlight of star clown (without having really demonstrated any outstanding comedic skills), while Martin – who introduces a spot of gambling to aid the circus – takes over the joint when Dru decides to call it a day. Eventually, Lewis and Martin also quarrel over the circus’ customary show at an orphanage – which Dru returns to compere…but, all’s well that ends well, as Dino has a change of heart and turns up to sing for the finale (following Jerry’s attempts to put a smile on a crippled girl’s face).

As can be seen, the formula is typical Martin & Lewis: songs, girls, sentiment and Lewis’ love-it-or-hate-it shtick; if anything, it’s certainly colorful and mildly entertaining along the way – but hardly a classic of screen comedy and, while clearly a popular title in the Lewis canon because he gets to don the clown make-up (the film, in fact, was re-issued in a shortened version entitled JERRICO, THE WONDER CLOWN!), not one of the better outings from the team.


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