Johnny Slate is the big boss who successfully keeps the circus running as it moves from town to town. He manages to deal with the unexpected frequently and uses Otto King, the accountant, as a sounding board.
The opening scene of the movie describes it best: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales."
At the turn of the century, Duke and Chester, two vaudeville performers, go to Alaska to make their fortune. On the ship to Skagway, they find a map to a secret gold mine, which had been ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
William Boyd, who had become enormously popular playing the character Hopalong Cassidy in a series of films and on television, contributed his cameo in this film--as Hoppy--as a favor to director Cecil B. DeMille in repayment for DeMille's having cast him in the showcase role of Simon of Cyrene in DeMille's production of The King of Kings (1927) nearly a quarter of a century earlier. The Simon of Cyrene role in the earlier DeMille production had contributed enormously to Boyd's film career. See more »
The Walt Disney characters are seen getting their costume heads prior to the parade. When the characters are seen on parade inside the tent, they are in different costumes to what they were wearing when they got the heads. See more »
[Phyllis is having her hair washed by Birdie as heart-throb Sebastian approaches;]
Why is it whenever he's around I'm all wet?
In more ways than one.
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It constantly amazes me that people carp that this won best Picture, as though no movie before or since ever won when maybe they shouldn't have. It was a big picture, it had a great story, it gave a lot of bang for the buck and that has always been a factor in grabbing the Oscar. It does seem a bit dated to us now, used to high flying special effects, different acting styles, and quick cut editing, instead of letting the scene play out as it so often does here, but it's such a great story. The circus itself is a character and the way Demille used the audience to make them seem so individual is wonderful. And I'm not just referring to the Hope/Crosby cameo. Remember the fat guy with the kid scarfing down the ice cream laughing his head off while the kid looked confused? You could tell he was reliving his childhood and he became EveryMan to us with only seconds of screen time. That's mastery. The integration of the real circus people with the actors was seamless and if nothing else this movie captures a time when the circus was really a circus. Carp all you want, guys. But I think you may be too spoiled by ultra realism to appreciate the subtler gems in this very respectable film.
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