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The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Passed | | Drama, Family, Romance | May 1952 (USA)
The dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer are told against a background of circus spectacle.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Holly
... The Great Sebastian
... Brad Braden
... Phyllis
... Angel
... FBI Agent Gregory
... Klaus
... Mr. Henderson
... Emmett Kelly
Cucciola ... Cucciola
Antoinette Concello ... Antoinette Concello
John Ringling North ... John Ringling North
Tuffy Genders ... Tuffy Genders
... Harry
... Assistant Manager
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Incomparable! Incredible! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

May 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$36,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Special effects produced a green halo around Gloria Grahame and Betty Hutton in the Grand Parade scene, so a shot was added of green floodlights turning on above them. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[Holly and Sebastian are one-upping each other on the trapeze]
Buttons: How long do you think this can go on before something happens?
Brad Braden: It's circus, isn't it?
Buttons: Do you believe in prayer?
Brad Braden: And practice.
See more »


Soundtracks

(I Wish I Was in) Dixie Land
(1860) (uncredited)
Music by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Played as the crowd arrives at the last circus set-up
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User Reviews

 
Betty Hutton and Cornel Wilde are superb in their 'flyer' roles!
8 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

I saw this film in a theatre when it first came out and, had forgotten a great deal of it, until I saw it again last evening.

Much of the film is actual footage of the REAL Barnum and Bailey Circus, setting up, tearing down and loading up for the trip to the next venue.

I had also forgotten how superb both Betty Hutton and Cornel Wilde are doing a great deal of their own 'flying'! While you realize that they have a net just under the view of the camera, they both perform physically demanding stunts with the camers right in their faces! I can't stand on my head on the floor much less on a swinging trapeze!!

Wilde's front summersault from one swinging bar to another swinging bar is breathtaking!!

Some of the action is quite dated and the trainwreck is...well, DeMille's rendition of a massive trainwreck. The plot creaks a bit here and there, but the many performers do their bits with conviction.

Hutton and Wilde steal the show from Heston and Stewart. I recommend this film to Circus lovers everywhere and to people who appreaciate actors placing themselves in Harms Way to create illusions (be they VERY dangerous illusions) of the REAL thing! I give it an 8.


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