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Rain or Shine (1930)

Woman inherits a traveling circus which brings financial difficulties.


Frank Capra (as Frank R. Capra)


Jo Swerling (dialogue and continuity), Dorothy Howell (dialogue and continuity) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Joe Cook ... Smiley Johnson
Louise Fazenda ... Frankie
Joan Peers ... Mary Rainey
William Collier Jr. ... Bud Conway
Tom Howard Tom Howard ... Amos K. Shrewsberry
Dave Chasen Dave Chasen ... Dave
Alan Roscoe ... Dalton - the Ringmaster
Adolph Milar Adolph Milar ... Foltz - the Lion Tamer
Clarence Muse ... Nero
Nella Walker ... Mrs. Conway
Edward Martindel ... Mr. Conway (as Edward Martindale)
Nora Lane ... Grace Conway
Tyrell Davis ... Lord Hugo Gwynne (as Tyrrell Davis)


After her father's death, Mary Rainey takes over the Rainey Circus (which operates twice daily, rain or shine) but runs into financial troubles. In one bit reminiscent of the Marx Brothers, the circus performers are up to some ridiculous antics at a dinner party with the family of Bud Conway, Mary's beau. As times become worse and the performers go on strike, Mary must try to save the circus from rioting patrons. Written by Paul Donahue

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Laugh Sensation of the Season! (original one-sheet poster)


Comedy | Drama | Romance








Release Date:

15 August 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Luci del circo See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The main character, Smiley Johnson, explains to Tom Howard that he was born in Evansville, Indiana. In fact, Joe Cook, the actor who played Smiley, was born in Evansville, Indiana. See more »


Amos K. Shrewsberry: Just a minute. I want to see you. I've got a feed bill here I want to talk to you about.
Smiley Johnson: Say, brother, you certainly were a big help to me. Now, I know what you're gonna say, you're modest and you want to make me believe you don't have it all. I want all these good folks to know what a great guy you are. You're not the mayor here, are you? You know the minute I laid eyes on you, I says to myself, now there's a man who looks just like Jimmy Walker and he should ought to be mayor of this cute ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

When this film was produced, not all theaters had converted to the "sound on film" system. Also, some of the dialogue was too lengthy to include on inter-titles or referenced things unfamiliar to foreign audiences. To address these issues, Columbia and other studios filmed foreign and domestic versions simultaneously with the same cast. (They would soon switch to filming separate versions, utilizing the same sets but different casts as was the case with the Spanish version of Universal's "Dracula.") The 68 minute "silent" international version is included on the Turner "Frank Capra: the Early Collection" set. (Some spoken dialogue remains without any title cards, mainly in the climatic fire sequence.) Most of the banter is eliminated but additional tricks and stunts have been added. Although both versions were directed by Capra (usually there were separate crews), the international version has additional scenes fleshing out the Ringmaster's machinations. It also features an alternate ending to the domestic version. See more »


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User Reviews

Make it stop, make it stop!
24 June 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

In the early days of sound films, studios really didn't know how to use the new medium. Instead of normal speaking voices and normal actors, Hollywood felt a need to overwhelm the audience with sound. A lot of vaudeville comics who spoke a mile a minute were shoved in front of the cameras to take advantage of the fact that audiences could now hear the actors speak. Some of these early talkies are downright dreadful while some others are just odd curios. RAIN OR SHINE falls into the category of just plain dreadful.

Most of the blame for this film being so terrible and tough to watch falls on the shoulders of its director, Frank Capra. While Capra did great things for Harry Langdon during the silent era and from the mid-1930s on he made some of the most iconic American films of the era (IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, MEET JOHN DOE and many others), but even great directors have their duds--and this film was definitely a dud.

The film is nominally about a circus that is chronically on the verge of bankruptcy. However, the entire show was the vaudevillian, Joe Cook. While one of the reviewers thought that Cook was hilarious, he was simply too much--like a giant migraine. He talked and talked and talked and talked. If you liked this sort of in your face routine again and again, then you'd probably like the film. However, I didn't think he was funny and felt the director should have placed more emphasis on the talented members of the cast. That, or simply punched Cook in the mouth and told him to shut the heck up!! Terrible pacing, annoying dialog and nothing to like--this is truly one of the most painful films I have seen. I only kept watching because I assumed it would get better---it didn't.

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