To ensure a full profitable season, circus manager Brad Braden engages The Great Sebastian, though this moves his girlfriend Holly from her hard-won center trapeze spot. Holly and Sebastian begin a dangerous one-upmanship duel in the ring, while he pursues her on the ground. Subplots involve the secret past of Buttons the Clown and the efforts of racketeers to move in on the game concessions. Let the show begin!Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
In the decades since this film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, there has been a backlash of criticism from movie fans who believe that either High Noon (1952) or The Quiet Man (1952) should have won. This is hindsight; at the time, there was no such debate. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) was a popular win, an epic melodrama that had swept both critics and audiences away, with a smashing set piece at its climax. To get a sense of the context, see Bosley Crowther's rhapsodic review in the New York Times when the film opened; he points out the broad acting and the film's overlength, but he is still over the moon about the essence of roustabout life that DeMille has so spectacularly captured. This hindsight 'Oscar rage' has reared itself in other instances, i.e. Ordinary People (1980) beating Raging Bull (1980) and, most famously, How Green Was My Valley (1941) eclipsing Citizen Kane (1941). But audiences forget that the Oscars are a snapshot in time, and, at the time these films won, the victories were celebrated. Further evidence of the hindsight effect: Singin' in the Rain (1952) wasn't even nominated that year. Today it would have won. Back then, it didn't register at all. See more »
When Brad is checking the baby gorillas after learning they may have contracted the mumps, a crowd of onlookers is gathered right behind, plainly staring at the camera filming the scene. See more »
When things go wrong, and life's no song, and you're flat on your back, that doesn't mean you have to lie there: be a jumping jack!
Keep on the hop, and if you flop, and everything looks black, stand on your head and holler "hi there!" Be a jumping jack!
When things go up, they must come down, and also visa verse. If things look bad, don't fret and frown - they could be ten times worse!
Your train of luck, it may get stuck if something's on the track; give a good jump and ...
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I know that some people are down on this movie, but I absolutely LOVE it. It has great ideals and good (not great) acting. It tells a story about the circus in a pseudo-documentary. The story has love, action, and humor. Three things that are missing from much of today's movie. I also love the color and the dramatic "feel" of the film for that era. It's a wonderful, wonderful, piece of 'Americana'.
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