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20 user 4 critic

The Big Circus (1959)

A circus owner tries to keep his financially troubled circus on the road, despite the efforts of a murderous saboteur who has decided that the show must not go on.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Henry Jasper 'Hank' Whirling
...
Randy Sherman
...
Helen Harrison
...
Jeannie Whirling
...
Hans Hagenfeld
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Zach Colino
...
Skeeter
...
Tommy Gordon
...
Maria 'Mama' Colino
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Mr. Lomax
Charles Watts ...
Jonathan T. Nelson
...
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Storyline

After splitting with his longtime business partner, Hank Whirling is about to take his big top circus on tour. He manages to get a loan and some investment money but has to take on one of their employees, Randy Sherman, to keep an eye on the finances. Sherman immediately hires a new press agent, Helen Harrison, over Hank's objections. After a series of accidents, they soon realize that they have a saboteur in the company. With financial problems increasing, Whirling looks to take the the show to New York City before his former partner Jules Borman can get his circus there. He realizes that he'll need a lot of publicity and trapeze and high wire artist Zach Colino agrees to walk the wire across Niagara Falls. After the circus train is sabotaged - killing Zach's wife and several others - they race to Niagara Falls to complete the high wire act but Zach may not be up it. The saboteur working for Borman bides his time and is planning another death. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

YOU are part of THE BIGGEST SHOW IN THE WORLD! The most exciting behind-the-scenes drama of the Big Top ever told! YOU catapult through the air on a flying trapeze! YOU face the snarling fangs of the King of Beasts! YOU...walk a swaying tight-rope across thundering Niagara! YOU are a human bullet...blasted out of a mighty canon! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 July 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran circo  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of veteran character actor Dick Rich--he worked exclusively on television until his retirement in 1961. See more »

Goofs

The human cannonball is shown climbing up the cannon, kneeling at the top, then swinging around and sliding into its mouth. In the next shot, showing the net in the foreground and the cannon behind, he's seen at the top of the cannon, swinging around and sliding into its mouth a second time. See more »

Connections

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #9.34 (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Nearer To Heaven
Music by Sammy Fain, Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter, Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Performed by Gus Levene Orchestra And Chorus
Sung by Rhonda Fleming
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User Reviews

 
Stands as one of the greatest circus movies of all time

One of the great injustices in movie history was the fact that "The Greatest Show on Earth" won a best picture oscar. This eye glazer was too long, too overblown and just too boring.

By contrast the little seen "The Big Circus" is everything that a great circus movie should be. Lions on the loose, tents burning and mysterious killers lurking around.

It features great performances by character actors such as Peter Lorre, Vincent Price and Gilbert Roland. Victor Mature, the Sylvester Stallone of his day, as circus owner Hank Whirling is wonderfully over the top.

Granted the circus movie genre is regrettably slim, but The Big Circus stands out. It has energy and innocence and features a spectacular ending with Gilbert Roland attempting to tightrope walk across Niagara Falls.

In the annals of the big top cinema The Big Circus stands as tall as a tent pole.


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