Released from prison after 18 years, notorious gunslinger 'Killer' Cain is a peaceful reformed man but the Old West has died and he cannot adapt to the modern West where some unpaid moral debts and old troubles resurface.
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
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.
23 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?