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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
Final film of veteran character actor Dick Rich--he worked exclusively on television until his retirement in 1961. See more »
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 »
The Big Circus I found a decent movie. It is a worthy attempt, but it isn't quite the masterpiece it yearned to be. No matter how many flaws there are, it is an entertaining and undervalued movie. While it is hindered by the fact that it is rather low budget, so the sets and technical aspects(ie. sound) weren't as up to scratch as they could have been, however, the costumes and photography are very nice and extraordinarily colourful. The plot, like a whodunit at a circus, while slow to start with, is clever and reaches to a tense ending where I admit I was surprised at the identity of the culprit. The trapeze scenes were very well choreographed, and the highlight was the tightrope walking scene with Zach, I really felt the desperation and anguish in his face. The music is wonderful too,the script is acceptable and the performances are above decent. Victor Mature, who I think can act, is a little world-weary and is disappointingly one note at times but wonderfully over the top in other parts of the film. Rhonda Fleming is lovely as the female lead. However they are both overshadowed by a brilliant supporting cast including Red Buttons, Gilbert Roland, Kathryn Grant, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. All in all, not a masterpiece, but I do think despite its flaws that the Big Circus is undervalued. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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