American couple Janet and Mike move to England for his business. She soon becomes paranoid that he is having an affair with his attractive secretary, and decides to get back at him by pretending she herself has been unfaithful.
Jane Osgood runs a lobster business, which supports her two young children. Railroad staff inattention ruins her shipment, so with her lawyer George, Jane sues Harry Foster Malone, director of the line and the "meanest man in the world".
It's the early 1900's. The Wonder Circus is a traveling circus owned and operated by Anthony Wonder - who performs as a clown - and his daughter Kitty Wonder - who performs as an aerialist and trick rider. Although Kitty loves her Pop as she and all the other circus performers call her father, she hates his gambling addiction which is placing the circus deep in debt. They and their employees treat the circus like one big family, especially Lulu the fortune teller who wants to be Mrs. Wonder, but the employees may only be so loyal if they aren't getting paid. As such, many of the performers leave or threaten to leave to join the Wonder Circus' main competitor, the Noble Circus owned by the power and money hungry John Noble. Although Pop and Kitty don't want anyone to leave their employ, the only act that they will never let go is Jumbo, their trained elephant, who Noble had tried to buy in the past. As many performers leave, into their midst comes circus Jack-of-all-trades Sam Rawlins....Written by
In the mid 50's, this was proposed as a Frank Sinatra / Judy Garland vehicle. See more »
In the film's opening shots of circus tents being erected, several five-man synchronized sledgehammer teams busily pound stakes into the ground, yet despite the Herculean efforts of these muscle dudes, the stakes don't sink an inch. See more »
Billy Rose's Jumbo is based on a play of the same name produced by Billy Rose. The play was adapted from the book written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, the screenplay here is written by Sidney Sheldon. Music is scored by George Stoll, with songs written by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart. It's directed by Charles Walters, with Busby Berkeley on second unit duties, and stars Doris Day, Jimmy Durante, Stephen Boyd, Martha Raye and Dean Jagger. William H. Daniels photographs and it's a Panavision/Metrocolor production out of MGM.
The Pop Wonder Circus is suffering desperate financial problems, with rival Noble Circus circling like a vulture ready to strip it of its greatest assets. Then one day a stranger walks in and joins them as a wire walker and things start to pick up. But as romance blossoms and problems begin to ease, shocking news brings great disruption to the equilibrium.
It's the sort of musical production that can be picked apart to reveal many problems. Problems in length, quality of song execution and certain casting issues, they are there and undeniably stop the film being great. However, if one is just after a breezy piece of fluff, in the company of a delightful leading lady, then it's a film that does its job. Structured as a series of songs and circus routines, there is little room for an intelligent plot, it's a basic boy/girl romance played out whilst some bad guy lurks in the background threatening to drive a wedge between the lovers. Still, the foot tappers keep it charming, the production value is top notch and the Metrocolor used is very pleasing. While the actual circus performers are truly great at their art (wire walkers a favourite over here).
So, as shallow as a puddle in terms of story and character depth, but even tho it should have had better care and attention afforded it, it remains above average and of appeal to musical fans. 6.5/10
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