6.4/10
559
20 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

On TV

Airs Tue. Jul. 23, 3:30 PM on TCM

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In this spoof of the story The Maltese Falcon (1941) is based on, a double-crossing woman, the two-timing P.I. she hired, the corpulent "empress of crime", and a gentleman thief are all after a legendary priceless eighth-century ram's horn.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Bette Davis, Warren William, Alison Skipworth
Torrid Zone (1940)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Plagued by revolutionaries that harass his plantation in a banana republic, fruit company exec Steve Case rehires former nemesis Nick Butler to restore order and profits.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, Pat O'Brien
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The arrival in Las Vegas of a businessman and his glamorous wife creates a complex web of murder and deceit.

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Jane Russell, Victor Mature, Vincent Price
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During WW2, a 3000-strong American unit, known as Merrill's Marauders, battles the Japanese forces in Burma.

Director: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Jeff Chandler, Ty Hardin, Peter Brown
Action | Crime | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A deported gangster's plan to re-enter the USA involves skulduggery at a Mexican resort, and gambler Dan Milner is caught in the middle.

Directors: John Farrow, Richard Fleischer
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, Vincent Price
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A gangster is jailed for ten years after his wife becomes pregnant. He becomes bitter when she divorces him and remarries.

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, James Stewart, Rose Stradner
Gentleman Jim (1942)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

As bareknuckled boxing enters the modern era, brash extrovert Jim Corbett uses new rules and dazzlingly innovative footwork to rise to the top of the top of the boxing world.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A wealthy woman's secretary, fearing that she will be blamed if her employer's jewelry is stolen, hires the Falcon as guardian. The Falcon is blamed when the jewels are stolen and murders ... See full summary »

Director: Ray McCarey
Stars: Tom Conway, Rita Corday, Vince Barnett
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Three skydivers and their travelling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Gene Hackman
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Wead.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Dan Dailey
Dodge City (1939)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Texas cattle agent witnesses first hand, the brutal lawlessness of Dodge City and takes the job of sheriff to clean the town up.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Sheridan
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
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:

YOU are part of THE BIGGEST SHOW IN THE WORLD! The most exciting behind-the-scenes drama of the Big Top ever told! YOU catapult through the air on a flying trapeze! YOU face the snarling fangs of the King of Beasts! YOU...walk a swaying tight-rope across thundering Niagara! YOU are a human bullet...blasted out of a mighty canon! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 July 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran circo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Irwin Allen and Vincent Mature would again work together in the 1966 television series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. See more »

Goofs

While Red Buttons flirts around the shooting range, a small boy in a checked shirt behind him disappears and reappears between shots. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rubberface (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

The Big Circus
Music by Sammy Fain, Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Performed by Gus Levene Orchestra And Chorus
Sung by Rhonda Fleming
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
entertaining
31 October 2013 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"The Big Circus," from 1959 is one of those spectacles in color that begged to be seen on a big screen, the type of film intended to lure audiences from their TV sets back into the movie theater.

It's a predictable story. Henry Whirling, the owner of the Whirling Circus (Victor Mature) gets a loan from a bank, but an accountant (Red Buttons) is sent along to watch the investment. He hires a publicist (Rhonda Fleming), though Whirling objects strenuously. Meanwhile, a rival circus is trying to sabotage Whirling's efforts to get into the black.

The film also stars Vincent Price as the ringleader, Gilbert Roland as the aerialist Colino, Peter Lorre as a Skeets the clown, David Nelson, a member of the high wire act, and Kathryn Grant. Grant plays Mature's sister -- they are twenty years apart, but it's within the realm of possibility.

With more attention paid to the care of animals today, I doubt you'd see multi-colored elephants, which really bothered me.

Some interesting aerial routines, a little suspense, and need I say that Red Buttons takes Skeets the Clown's place at one point.

This is before CGI and computers, so the process shot of Colino walking a wire at a national landmark is lousy.

The acting is nothing special. The best actors like Lorre and Price have smaller roles. Victor Mature was a serviceable leading man. Very, very few men in Hollywood were handsome throughout their lives; I think Gilbert Roland was a notable exception. He's quite effective in a dramatic role.

All in all, entertaining.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed