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The winter quarters of Barberini's circus in this movie were largely filmed at the actual home of one of Britain's most famous circus companies Billy Smart's circus in Winkfield, Berkshire. See more »
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Video version entitled Circus of Fear includes new footage and introduction with John Carradine. See more »
This viewer recently became aware of a genre of film known as "Krimi". Just as Italy has the "Giallo", Germany has the "Krimi", which is essentially crime and mystery fiction, based on works by the likes of Edgar Wallace. "Circus of Fear" itself is based on a Wallace novel, and scripted by producer Harry Alan Towers (using his pseudonym of Peter Welbeck). Originally, "Circus of Fear" was trimmed by almost half a hour upon its release in North America, and shown in black & white. This certainly must have made the plot confusing to audiences of the time.
In its full 91 minute incarnation, it tells the story of a daring daytime robbery of millions of bank notes, and how the money eventually makes its way to a circus run by Barberini (Anthony Newlands). While a dedicated police inspector named Elliott (the great Leo Genn) works the case, performers in this particular big top begin to be knocked off. There is no shortage of suspects. Could the perpetrator be hooded lion tamer Gregor (Sir Christopher Lee)? Knife thrower Mario (Maurice Kaufmann)? Or the diminutive, ironically named Mr. Big (ever delightful Skip Martin)?
Viewers will have fun following the twisty plot. As directed by John Llewellyn Moxey ("The City of the Dead", 'The Night Stalker'), this is appropriately colourful entertainment that takes full advantage of the circus setting. It's a well told tale that receives strong performances by much of the cast, although it's somewhat disappointing that co-star Klaus Kinski doesn't get more to do. Genn is wonderful as the detective, always amused by the foul temper of his superior Sir John (Cecil Parker), while Lee is typically commanding, no matter if his face is covered up or not. Heinz Drache as ringmaster Carl, Eddi Aren't as comedy relief character Eddie, lovely ladies Margaret Lee & Suzy Kendall, and Victor Maddern as robbery participant Mason round out a sterling group of actors.
A good, solid film overall that I would easily recommend to others.
Eight out of 10.
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