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The Greatest Show on Earth
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It almost seems that "The Greatest Show on Earth" would be more highly respected today if it had not won the Best Picture Oscar in 1952; reviewers often tend to compare its value to that of other films released the same year (especially "The Quiet Man", which won Best Director for John Ford and "Singin' in the Rain" which failed to secure a Best Picture nomination at all), and find TGSOE lacking. Such criticism is patently unfair. After all, whether it won as a fluke because the other nominees split the vote, or whether the Academy voters simply went for it in a big way, it isn't TGSOE's fault that it emerged the big winner - blame the Academy! And Oscar considerations aside, it's undeniable that TGSOE is exactly what its producers and director Cecil B. DeMille intended it to be: a great big, gaudy, colorful, lavish example of traditional storytelling and old-fashioned entertainment that would delight and thrill audiences while raking in piles of money at the box-office. On those terms, the film was - and still is - a stupendous success.
Certainly the movie features the cast of a lifetime interacting with actual circus personnel in this early "Circus of the Stars". In addition to top-billed Betty Hutton and Cornel Wilde (who actually performed many of their own acrobatic stunts), the players include Charlton Heston; Gloria Grahame; Dorothy Lamour; legendary clown Emmett Kelly; DeMille regulars Henry Wilcoxon and Julia Faye; Lyle Bettger; Lawrence Tierney; and, in a meaty supporting role, James Stewart.Read more ›
I believe it is because the film was seen as a "last chance" vote for De Mille; particularly ironic given that C.B. received the Thalberg that year as well, and for the same reason: for creating and producing consistently high-quality movies. De Mille's best work was decades behind him when he filmed the 1951 edition of the Ringling Brothers - Barnum & Bailey Circus. The subplots, purple prose and some of the situations have more in common with the silent cinema spectacles for which De Mille is justly famed than they do with the realities of running a three-ring railroad circus plus midway under canvas on the road for an 8-month season.
One subplot almost derailed the production, in fact. From its beginnings, Ringling Brothers was renowned for running a totally honest show. Considering that at one point Ringling had been nicknamed 'the Sunday-School Show' for its total intolerance of grifters, pickpockets and thieves, the subplot involving a dishonest rival circus owner planting a team of con men on the show to run the midway's games of chance was about as welcome to the circus's management as a skunk at a picnic.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie. Again, one my mother was wanting, & was happily surpriswd when she opened it. I remember watching it, fairly late at night as a little girl. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is a wonderful movie that shows you what a great circus has to offer you. It has lots of trained elephants, lions, tigers, dogs, and bears. Read morePublished 18 days ago by R. Guenther
When I was a youngster I saw this movie with my parents at a drive-in movie. I think they expected me to sleep since it was supposed to be their date night. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Mary Johnson
😀 Cecil B. Demille Hollywood. Everything one has heard about early hollywood was invented by Cecil B. Demille.
Everthing Cecil B. Read more
The Greatest Show on Earth brings to the fore the dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer – there stories are... Read more
I saw this when I was a kid.Loved it then---love it now. Just a plain good movie with lots of things going on.Published 1 month ago by Sam