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The Circus (1936)

Tsirk (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 25 May 1936 (Soviet Union)
US - Vaudeville dancer Marion Dixon is with her German manager von Kneischitz on tour - in Moskau. Her act includes a gun shooting her to the trapeze, the stage director there wants a copy ... See full summary »


Grigoriy Aleksandrov, Isidor Simkov (co-director) (as I. E. Simkov)
1 win. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Lyubov Orlova ... Marion Dixon (as L.P. Orlova)
Yevgeniya Melnikova ... Rayechka, the director's daughter (as E. Melnikova)
Vladimir Volodin Vladimir Volodin ... Circus Director - Ludvig Osipovich (as V. Volodin)
Sergey Stolyarov ... Martinov - Ivan Petrovich (as S. Stolyarov)
Pavel Massalsky ... Kneishitz - Entrepreneur (as N. Massalskij)
Aleksandr Komissarov Aleksandr Komissarov ... Skameykin - Amateur Designer (as A. Komissarov)
N. Otto N. Otto ... Chaplin
Jim Patterson Jim Patterson ... Jimmy, Marion's son (as Dzh. Patterson)
Fyodor Kurikhin ... Captain Borneo, animal tamer (as F. Kurikhin)
Sergei Antimonov Sergei Antimonov ... Circus Presenter (as S. Antimonov)
Solomon Mikhoels Solomon Mikhoels ... Lullaby Singer (as S. Mikhoels)
Pavel Geraga Pavel Geraga ... Lullaby Singer (as P. Geraga)
Lev Sverdlin ... Lullaby Singer (as L. Sverdlin)
Vladimir Kandelaki Vladimir Kandelaki ... Lullaby Singer (as V. Kandelaki)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Ross Robert Ross ... Pilot - Lullaby Singer


US - Vaudeville dancer Marion Dixon is with her German manager von Kneischitz on tour - in Moskau. Her act includes a gun shooting her to the trapeze, the stage director there wants a copy of this act for the USSR. She falls in love with a Soviet enginer, but von Kneischitz blackmails her with her dark spot in her life, she has a colored baby, to leave Moskau. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


In the scene where people sing a lullaby in various languages to the black child, the bit sung in Yiddish by Solomon Mikhoels was cut out of the film for distribution in the USSR, for a time when a state-backed anti-Semitism campaign was unleashed. See more »

Alternate Versions

Restored version, Mosfilm, 1970 See more »


Featured in Defence Counsel Sedov (1988) See more »


Pesnya o Rodine
Music by Isaak Dunaevskiy
Lyrics by Vasiliy Lebedev-Kumach
See more »

User Reviews

Dramatic backstage of a circus or Love of two different worlds
8 March 2021 | by lyubitelfilmovSee all my reviews

Musical comedy. A screen adaptation of the play "Under the Circus Dome" written by the famous Soviet and Russian writers and playwrights Ilya Ilf, Yevgeny Petrov and Valentin Kataev. Well, the director Grigory Alexandrov was responsible for the production. The main role was played by the main celebrity of the Stalinist era, Lyubov Petrovna Orlova. I have nothing to say about the play, because I have not seen it in my eyes, so I will evaluate the picture as an independent work. The disc with this picture lay on my shelf for a long time, and all hands did not reach to look. Each time, approaching the shelf, I chose a different film, and mentally said to myself, "The circus will be another time." And then came this very "Another time". Therefore, here is my brief opinion - Dramatic backstage of the circus. Unfortunately, the picture did not impress me as a "bombshell", so I intend to tell you about the pros and cons of this comedy. I see no reason to drag out this introduction any further, so I'm getting down to the point. So the pros: 1. The story told - American Marion Dixon flees the country because she gave birth to a Negro baby. She is rescued by the German Franz von Kneischitz, who puts her in a circus troupe, with which she comes to the USSR. And here, in the Land of Soviets, she learns that there are not only bad, but also good people who are ready to accept her and her son, despite the skin color. But the cunning German won't just give up. Love, intrigue, romance, music, humor and a splendid ending - this is all "Circus". The story is somewhat naive, but catchy for the viewer. And although the ending is obvious almost from the very beginning, but its grandeur does not negate this (despite the fact that I watched the color and castrated version from the fifties). 2. "My native land is wide ..." - the legendary song of the composer Isaac Dunaevsky, the author of the text was Vasily Lebedev-Kumach. I knew about the existence of this song from early childhood (thanks to my parents, grandparents), but I just did not know where it came from. Now I am glad that I have filled this gap. Cheerful, patriotic, soulful, energetic, powerful and memorable. It's all about her! Simple words are not just a song. This is a hymn to the generation of the thirties of the twentieth century - the generation of my grandparents. They grew up with this song and built a mighty country (which later some individuals sold and drank, so we are sitting in the current swamp, but oh well, let's not talk about sad things). 3. The USSR of the thirties - a unique time and a generation of unique people who never existed again (hope only for the future). There is ideologization in the picture, but it does not put pressure on perception. The glorification of the USSR and the cultivation of friendship between peoples is an integral attribute of those years. Panorama of Moscow and Red Square with Lenin's mausoleum, double-headed eagles on the domes of the Kremlin towers (which will be replaced with red five-pointed stars in the year the picture is released). As the Soviet people of that time spoke, thought, acted - this picture shows all this, therefore it is still good from the point of view of history. So the cons: 1. Sound - the picture was restored and painted, though not original, but castrated. Okay, this is unpleasant, but you can live with it, but the sound is a big problem. Apparently the source code was not in the best condition, and they decided to leave it "as is", fearing to spoil it. It's a pity, because in the whole picture, thirty percent of the dialogues and songs are difficult to understand. 2. Irrationalities - there are a few blunders in the script that greatly unsettle the viewer, so to speak. Unpleasant, even very unpleasant. Maybe due to the fact that Grigory Alexandrov significantly reworked the original play, which is why Ilf, Petrov and Kaverin demanded to remove their names from the credits of this picture? Who knows comrades? Who knows? 3. Boring middle - good beginning, ending - even better, but middle is so boring that I almost fell asleep from melancholy. Little action. The painting literally sags in the middle. Maybe it's all about the script, maybe something else. But the fact is on the face! A little about the main characters: 1. Marion Dixon performed by Lyubov Orlova is an American circus artist performing in the USSR with a unique number. Has a humiliating (for the USA) secret, which is used by Franz von Kneischitz. It should be said that Lyubov Orlova managed to play the American well, and even with an accent there were no problems. Although in a couple of places the actress clearly forgot about him, trying to quickly say a line. She is convincing and beautiful. Bravo! 2. Ivan Martynov performed by Sergei Stolyarov is one of the most important circus workers who falls in love with Marion and wants to help her with all his might. A bold, honest idealist is practically a symbol of young people of that time (like Pavel Korchagin is a symbol of the Komsomol). Sergey looked great in this role, so bravo! 3. Franz von Kneischitz performed by Pavel Massalsky - Marion's patron and blackmailer. A representative of a typical bourgeois tribe who thinks exclusively about his own benefit and humiliates Marion in every possible way. He falls into the USSR and does not understand that this is not the States. Here is a different culture, and different norms of morality. Pavel did an excellent job with this role. Bravo! And although the picture did not make a very strong impression on me, I simply had no right not to mention its artistic and historical features! This is a good picture, not nonsense (like "Favorite" (wow, when I remember this arthouse, hidden under the cover of a "historical drama" I want to wash myself so much)). As a result, we have a good musical comedy, with a good script, historical surroundings, great music and songs, as well as great acting. My rating is 7 out of 10 and my recommendation for viewing!

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Soviet Union


Russian | English | German

Release Date:

25 May 1936 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

The Circus See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mosfilm See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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