In the early years of the 20th century, Matt Masters takes his rambling Wild West Show to Europe. His decision is prompted by his desire to find Lili Alfredo, who disappeared fourteen years... See full summary »
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Robert Downey Jr.,
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In the early years of the 20th century, Matt Masters takes his rambling Wild West Show to Europe. His decision is prompted by his desire to find Lili Alfredo, who disappeared fourteen years earlier following the death of her husband, The Flying Alfredo. At the time it was believed that Alfredo dove to his death deliberately when he realized his wife loved Matt and not him. Toni, a beautiful trapeze performer, raised by Matt is actually Lili's daughter, and she is in love with Steve McCabe, one of the stars on Matt's show. Doing their first show in Barcelona, aboard a ship, the ship keels over and Matt loses his show. Now broke, he leaves for Paris with Toni, Steve and his long-time friend, Cap Carson, to seek a job with Colonel Purdy's Wild West Show. But a year later, Matt has rebuilt his own show. First to be signed is a remarkable 12-year-old wire-walker named Giovana, and her guardian, Tojo the Clown, whose real named is Aldo Alfredo, formerly of the Flying Alfredos. Continuing ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
While the film is taking place in 1901, there are several mistakes with the European flags. One example is the Finnish flag that is seen in the movie. Finland didn't achieved independence (and the flag) until 1918. See more »
Not as magnificent as the title suggests, but a pretty entertaining movie
Is The Magnificent Showman a good movie? Not really. Is it entertaining? In some ways, yes, but it also has a number of problems. As far as John Wayne go, The Magnificent Showman is not among the best like The Searchers, Fort Apache and The Quiet Man. But he has also done worse in his career as seen(in my opinion that is) with The Conqueror, Brannigan and The Green Berets. In fact, it probably belongs somewhere in the middle.
I did very much like how The Magnificent Showman looked. The cinematography, effects, costumes and sets/scenery are amazingly effective. There are also some scenes that hold up well and entertain, particularly worth of note are the climatic fire and the capsizing of the circus ship, both scenes are full of excitement and tension.
The Magnificent Showman was begun as Circus World, directed by Frank Capra. As much as I very much like Capra and his films, Henry Hathaway, who the film was later entrusted to, in my view was much more suitable for the job. And while there are some assets that don't work as well as they should, Hathaway does deserve credit for directing as solidly as he did.
Aside from the cinematography, effects and set pieces, the other outstanding asset is Dmitri Tiomkin's score, which is energetic, beautiful, haunting and rousing as it should be. And while I wasn't that impressed really with the acting, two performances do stand out- Rita Hayworth and Claudia Cardinale. Hayworth is captivating and Cardinale is a sheer delight. Together they are even better, here they seem to be having a contest at who's the best at upstaging the other, and it is a lot of fun to watch. Just for the record, I think Cardinale just about wins the contest.
These aside, I was divided personally on the performance of John Wayne. I do like Wayne a lot, but I wasn't sure about him here. What I did like was his charisma, Wayne was a very charismatic actor and that comes loud and clear here. However, for my liking his delivery of the lines seemed rather stiff and there were times where I couldn't help thinking he was too old for the role.
The film is too long, at 133 minutes it is very lengthy. This wouldn't have mattered so much if the pace and story were good, sadly neither were as solid as I would have liked. There are a fair number of exciting scenes that do elevate the story, but the more talky and slower moments are rather sluggish. The story had a great concept to work from, but the final result seemed rather over-stuffed and cobbled together, also some plot points could have been better developed. But my main gripe was the dialogue, some of which was really quite bad being very clichéd and silly.
All in all, entertaining enough but has a lot of flaws that stop it from being any more than that. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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