MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 5,245 this week

The Big Circus (1959)

 |  Drama  |  5 July 1959 (USA)
6.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 442 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 4 critic

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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

10 Best Back-to-School TV Shows

Dust off your varsity jacket and get excited for fall with our list of the 10 best back-to-school TV shows.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 14 Sep 2012
 
a list of 1221 titles
created 20 Nov 2012
 
a list of 10000 titles
created 09 Mar 2013
 
a list of 830 titles
created 21 Mar 2014
 
a list of 470 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Big Circus" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Big Circus (1959)

The Big Circus (1959) on IMDb 6.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Big Circus.

User Polls

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

The devil and the spirit of mankind argue as to whether or not humanity is ultimately good or evil.

Director: Irwin Allen
Stars: Ronald Colman, Hedy Lamarr, Groucho Marx
The Locket (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Just before a wedding, the bridegroom hears a complex tale painting his lovely bride as devilish and unbalanced.

Director: John Brahm
Stars: Laraine Day, Robert Mitchum, Brian Aherne
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A serial killer has been killing beautiful women in New York, and the new owner of a media company offers a high ranking job to the 1st administrator who can get the earliest scoops on the case.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In 19th century San Francisco's Chinatown, American adventurer Gilbert De Quincey is saving slave girls owned by the Chinese Tong factions.

Director: Albert Zugsmith
Stars: Vincent Price, Linda Ho, Richard Loo
Svengali (1931)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Through hypnotism and telepathic mind control, a sinister music maestro controls the singing voice, but not the heart, of the woman he loves.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Donald Crisp
Horror | Thriller | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A master magician murders his greedy employer, who legally owns every trick he can invent, and finds himself having to kill again.

Director: John Brahm
Stars: Vincent Price, Mary Murphy, Eva Gabor
Action | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A policeman tries to protect a young woman against a hit man, when she flees New York after witnessing a mob killing.

Director: Louis King
Stars: Victor Mature, Piper Laurie, William Bendix
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The City of Chicago is gripped by an Axe Murderer. The streets are empty at night as there has been six murders and six people have been caught, but they are lunatics. Only one person has ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Lederer
Stars: Lew Ayres, Laraine Day, Basil Rathbone
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Hard-hitting news editor Jim Branch falls for high-society type Sharon Norwood but can't get to first base as he continually makes use of her knowledge of the rich and famous to try to ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Constance Bennett, Clark Gable, Stuart Erwin
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The liberated daughter of a 1905 minister innocently starts a scandal.

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Robert Young, Shirley Temple, John Agar
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A struggling circus finds salvation in the form of an exciting new twist on their high-wire act.

Director: John Harlow
Stars: Ben Lyon, Anne Crawford, David Farrar
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Eric Wainwright (Van Johnson), a busy impresario, is besieged by hordes of wannabe concert stars, eager for their big break. One of them is Cynthia Potter (June Allyson), a talented pianist... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: June Allyson, Van Johnson, Gig Young
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
Henry Jasper 'Hank' Whirling
...
Randy Sherman
...
Helen Harrison
...
Jeannie Whirling
...
Hans Hagenfeld
...
Zach Colino - the aerialist
...
Skeeter
...
Tommy Gordon
Adele Mara ...
Maria 'Mama' Colino
...
Mr. Lomax
Charles Watts ...
Jonathan T. Nelson - Banker
...
Himself - Cameo appearance
Edit

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:

See all certifications »
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

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

THE BIG CIRCUS
By Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Copying DeMille
27 February 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Unfortunately for The Big Circus, The Greatest Show On Earth by Cecil B. DeMille set the standard for circus films that will be pretty hard to match. One hasn't come out in many years now, probably the market isn't there. Pity too, in this age of computer graphics, the potential to out DeMille DeMille is there.

This film can still stand on its own however as good entertainment. As in The Grestest Show On Earth, someone is out trying to sabotage the circus. The villain here isn't doing it for some nefarious scheme to enrich, it's a very psychologically disturbed individual who is not unmasked until the very end.

The leads here are Victor Mature in the role of circus boss and he's got financial troubles. Working to help straighten out the circus's finances are Rhonda Fleming and Red Buttons. Both aren't quite used to the culture of the circus, but Vic works the old heavy lidded charm and he's got a sister in Kathryn Crosby who brings the circus out in banker Buttons.

In The Greatest Show on Earth James Stewart took a supporting role as a clown because he always wanted to play one. Peter Lorre departs from his usual villainy to play a similar kind of clown, kind of a father confessor to the show.

But my favorite in the film is Gilbert Roland. He plays the patriarch of a high wire act and the high point of the film is his walk across Niagara Falls as a publicity stunt for the financially strapped show. Roland is under a lot of pressure, his wife, Adele Mara, having been the only fatality in a planned train wreck.

In fact The Big Circus took so much from The Greatest Show on Earth like the train wreck and other things that producer/director Irwin Allen was rightly criticized for a lack of originality. It seems he was just trying he could do the same things on the screen better than DeMille.

Nevertheless The Big Circus is a fine film on its own, entertaining and colorful for children of all ages.


16 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD now sold on Warner's webpage simonhowson
Looking to buy ewinche
The Big Circus on DVD harrypomm
Dancer 'Rowena'? bzb-1
Discuss The Big Circus (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?