After the closing credits, there's a shot of a turtle-crossing sign; the camera pans down, and we see Mr. T crossing the street while the circus truck and Hannah-Belle wait in the background. See more »
Julie Harris lifts this low-budget film to a higher level
"The First of May" refers to a greenhorn in the circus business, and that's what young Cory (affectingly played by Dan Byrd) is, when he runs away from his current foster home & joins forces with Carlotta, a lonely, assertive woman condemned for some reason(she has no obvious physical or mental defect) to a restrictive Florida nursing home. Carlotta is no greenhorn, however; she has had years of experience in a circus & even encounters two old friends when she & Cory join Clyde Beatty's troop. The circus scenes alone, w/ their brilliant colors & daredevil activity, would be enough to attract young viewers, but the film is also based on the child-catching premise that a young person of pluck & ingenuity can rescue himself from a constrictive situation. I, for one, was sorry to see Cory return at the end to the kindly but clueless couple from whom he ran away. (In one episode they put him to bed without supper, without asking for any explanation of his behavior.) The lack of family dialogue, however, is more than made up for in his relationship with Carlotta, wonderfully played (complete with foreign accent--Austrian? Hungarian?) by the inimitable Julie Harris, who handles every scene, including dancing with an elephant, with dignified capability. Harris, Mickey Rooney, and several other actors (including Joe DiMaggio in a cameo) agreed to act in this film because it sends the message, "Adopt an unwanted child." But the more important message is, that with the concern & understanding of a few perceptive adults, a child can acquire the self-assurance he needs to succeed in an often irrational, unfriendly world.
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