6.3/10
606
21 user 5 critic

The Big Circus (1959)

TV-PG | | Drama | 5 July 1959 (USA)
A circus owner tries to keep his financially troubled circus on the road, despite the efforts of a murderous saboteur who has decided that the show must not go on.

Director:

Joseph M. Newman

Writers:

Irwin Allen (screenplay), Charles Bennett (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Victor Mature ... Henry Jasper 'Hank' Whirling
Red Buttons ... Randy Sherman
Rhonda Fleming ... Helen Harrison
Kathryn Grant ... Jeannie Whirling
Vincent Price ... Hans Hagenfeld
Gilbert Roland ... Zach Colino
Peter Lorre ... Skeeter
David Nelson ... Tommy Gordon
Adele Mara ... Maria 'Mama' Colino
Howard McNear ... Mr. Lomax
Charles Watts Charles Watts ... Jonathan T. Nelson
Steve Allen ... Steve Allen
Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A policeman tries to protect a young woman against a hit man, when she flees New York after witnessing a mob killing.

Director: Louis King
Stars: Victor Mature, Piper Laurie, William Bendix
Nocturne (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1940s Los Angeles, when womanizing composer Keith Vincent is found dead, the inquest concludes it was a suicide but police detective Joe Warne isn't so sure.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: George Raft, Lynn Bari, Virginia Huston
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The first secret is what we don't tell people, the second secret is what we don't tell ourselves, and the third secret is the truth. The death of a psychologist is investigated by his teenage daughter and a former patient.

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Richard Attenborough
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman kills her beautiful sister in a rage after finding out she has an affair with her fiancé, and later plans on killing the little girl who may have witnessed the murder.

Director: Pat Jackson
Stars: Ann Sothern, Zachary Scott, Gigi Perreau
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Whaling ship captain Bering Joy takes his grandson Jed on a whaling trip to teach him core life values while First Mate Dan Lunceford is tasked with tutoring Jed.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Richard Widmark, Lionel Barrymore, Dean Stockwell
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An airline executive refuses to believe that pilot error, by his friend, caused a fatal crash and persists in looking for another reason.

Director: Ralph Nelson
Stars: Glenn Ford, Nancy Kwan, Rod Taylor
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

In 1862, the British commission inventor Fergusson to claim uncharted land in West Africa for Britain by flying his giant hot air balloon there.

Director: Irwin Allen
Stars: Red Buttons, Fabian, Barbara Eden
Comedy | Mystery | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A respected investment advisor has a double life as a mystery writer and becomes involved in the real murder of a shady client.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Ralph Bellamy
Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Professor Challenger leads an expedition of scientists and adventurers to a remote plateau deep in the Amazonian jungle to verify his claim that dinosaurs still live there.

Director: Irwin Allen
Stars: Michael Rennie, Jill St. John, David Hedison
Drama | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

The devil and the spirit of mankind argue as to whether or not humanity is ultimately good or evil.

Director: Irwin Allen
Stars: Ronald Colman, Hedy Lamarr, Groucho Marx
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An ex-football coach is hired by a small Catholic college to train its football team in the hopes of winning games and making money to save the school from bankruptcy.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Wayne, Donna Reed, Charles Coburn
Lost Angel (1943)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Alpha's been raised along scientific principles, and will make Mike Regan a great human interest story for his paper. But when his interview prompts Alpha to run away from the institute and... See full summary »

Director: Roy Rowland
Stars: Margaret O'Brien, James Craig, Marsha Hunt
Edit

Storyline

After splitting with his longtime business partner, Hank Whirling is about to take his big top circus on tour. He manages to get a loan and some investment money but has to take on one of their employees, Randy Sherman, to keep an eye on the finances. Sherman immediately hires a new press agent, Helen Harrison, over Hank's objections. After a series of accidents, they soon realize that they have a saboteur in the company. With financial problems increasing, Whirling looks to take the the show to New York City before his former partner Jules Borman can get his circus there. He realizes that he'll need a lot of publicity and trapeze and high wire artist Zach Colino agrees to walk the wire across Niagara Falls. After the circus train is sabotaged - killing Zach's wife and several others - they race to Niagara Falls to complete the high wire act but Zach may not be up it. The saboteur working for Borman bides his time and is planning another death. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hear the New Song Hit! "THE BIG CIRCUS" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally Columbia was going to have Irwin Allen produce and direct Big Circus. Allied Artists ended up picking up the movie instead. See more »

Goofs

In the climactic trapeze act near the end, Zach and Jeannie are repeatedly shown standing on the opposite side of the stationary platform in long shots from where they're standing in close-ups. See more »

Connections

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #9.34 (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Nearer To Heaven
Music by Sammy Fain, Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter, Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Performed by Gus Levene Orchestra And Chorus
Sung by Rhonda Fleming
See more »

User Reviews

 
Stands as one of the greatest circus movies of all time
29 August 2000 | by petermcgarveySee all my reviews

One of the great injustices in movie history was the fact that "The Greatest Show on Earth" won a best picture oscar. This eye glazer was too long, too overblown and just too boring.

By contrast the little seen "The Big Circus" is everything that a great circus movie should be. Lions on the loose, tents burning and mysterious killers lurking around.

It features great performances by character actors such as Peter Lorre, Vincent Price and Gilbert Roland. Victor Mature, the Sylvester Stallone of his day, as circus owner Hank Whirling is wonderfully over the top.

Granted the circus movie genre is regrettably slim, but The Big Circus stands out. It has energy and innocence and features a spectacular ending with Gilbert Roland attempting to tightrope walk across Niagara Falls.

In the annals of the big top cinema The Big Circus stands as tall as a tent pole.


28 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 July 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran circo See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Your Next Binge Watch Awaits

Looking for something to watch? Check out IMDb's "What to Watch" series to find out what's really worth watching.



Recently Viewed