Herman owes a lot of gambling debts. To pay them off, he promises the mob he'll fix a horse, so that it does not run. He intends to trick his animal-loving cousin, Virgil, an apprentice ... See full summary »
Reports I've read state that "3 Ring Circus" was a very troubled production, ranging from stars Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis demanding a lot of script changes through filming to the fact that their partnership was at this stage becoming very strained. All of this turmoil may explain why the end results do not manage to be all that humorous. Much of the movie is surprisingly played in a lower key than usual; even Lewis doesn't go all out like he did in other movies. I will say that Lewis all the same is pretty good, especially when he's in clown makeup and performing in front of an audience. Martin does try, but the script for the most part makes him a kind of a heel instead of a humorous straight man, and often doesn't seem to know what to do with his character. There also isn't a heck of a lot of plot on display as well. The movie had potential, but this is definitely one case where everyone involved should have come to some sort of agreement first about how to do the movie - or simply not have done the movie at all.
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