When a Prince is ignored by the young widow, Princess Feodora, he plans revenge by paying a masked acrobat, "Mister X", to pretend to be a nobleman, woo, and marry her, so that she will be disgraced in society as "the circus princess".

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Cast

Credited cast:
Natalya Belokhvostikova ...
Countess
Igor Keblusek ...
Mister Iks (Mister X)
Nikolay Trofimov ...
Prince
Yuriy Moroz ...
Toni
Yelena Shanina ...
Marie
Lyudmila Kasatkina ...
Toni's Mother
Vladimir Basov ...
Pelikan
Aleksandr Shirvindt ...
Fiorelli
Emmanuil Geller ...
Orchestra Conductor
Aleksandr Pyatkov ...
Prince's Aide-de-Camp
Lyudmila Shagalova ...
Mother
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vladimir Balon ...
Hussar Officer
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Storyline

When a Prince is ignored by the young widow, Princess Feodora, he plans revenge by paying a masked acrobat, "Mister X", to pretend to be a nobleman, woo, and marry her, so that she will be disgraced in society as "the circus princess".

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circus | operetta | based on play | See All (3) »


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The Circus Princess  »

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Version of Die Zirkusprinzessin (1970) See more »

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Excellent—one of the best operetta films I've ever seen.
22 May 2014 | by (Chatham, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Emmerich Kálmán (in his native Hungarian, Kálmán Imre) was the most successful operetta composer of the Viennese Silver Age (defined as from the 1906 opening of "The Merry Widow" to the Anschuß in 1938), and his operettas are at the top of the heap in Europe to this day. He is not so well known in the USA because his works generally require performers who can sing like opera and dance like Broadway, and we don't, as a rule, grow those in America. It also doesn't help that, before about 1980, when he was produced in America, it was in watered- down versions, with substitute music and rewritten plots.

"The Circus Princess" is from his middle period, when he knew that his name would automatically sell tickets, and he was deliberately writing shows that were as big as possible, to give jobs to a maximum number of people. This one takes it to an extreme by adding a small circus to the cast, and this Russian TV movie takes full advantage of what Kálmán gave them. Though it sometimes reveals that it is only a TV budget, it is a very large TV budget, and makes a great effort to be a gorgeous as possible.

Unlike most operetta films, most of the original music is here, and most of it sounds the way it was written, except that lots of songs lose their second verses. I don't understand Russian, but the translator seems at least to have paid closer attention to sounds and rhymes than German shows normally receive in English. The plot is also more or less as in the original, except for the last act, where there is a lot of subplot that I can't follow, because it's not in the original show, and, as I said, I don't understand Russian.

The stars all give first rate performances. Especially to be remarked is Igor Keblušek as "Mister X". He was a young student from Czechoslovakia with no intentions of ever becoming an actor when he was drafted into the production, even though his spoken dialog and singing had to be dubbed. But the things he does with his face and his eyes are extraordinary, and make you wish that he had gone into acting as a career. After over thirty years, he is still regarded as a huge star in Russia.


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