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The Big Circus

Released Jul 5, 1959 1h 49m Adventure List
Reviews 41% Audience Score 50+ Ratings Hank Whirling (Victor Mature) is the owner of a big top circus that is struggling to make ends meet. After accepting a hefty bank loan, Hank must take advice from a curmudgeonly loan officer (Red Buttons) and a well-intentioned but rash publicist (Rhonda Fleming), while also caring for his impetuous younger sister (Kathryn Grant). But these obstacles are nothing compared to those created by an elusive saboteur who has been letting animals loose, setting fires and getting people killed. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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The Big Circus

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Critics Reviews

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Michael E. Grost Classic Film and Television Backstage at the circus, with colorful acts, a look at the business aspects of a circus, and a pioneering feminist heroine. Aug 16, 2012 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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john m Enjoyed this more than I expected. Plot is pretty basic - a big circus has broken up, and our folks get a bank loan to get them through the season. Red Buttons as the banker forced to tag along with the circus to make sure they stay thrifty. Throw in a spy who keeps sabotaging the circus so they can't make their payments. Throw in a string of bad luck, and you have enough to keep you interested throughout the movie. Imagine "Greatest show" but less full of itself, and more 'Irwin Allen" twists and turns. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member There's always a first time. Hank Jasper Whirling is a circus owner who talks a bank into helping financially back his circus. The bank sends a man to oversee the investment. Shortly after he secures the financial backing, rains come, a saboteur emerges, and the circus starts losing money putting the show at risk. Can Hank and the circus folks find the person responsible and bring them to a stop? "Walk across Niagara Falls." "You mean on the water?" Joseph Newman, director of Dangerous Crossing, The Island Earth, A Thunder of Drums, Kiss of Fire, Fort Massacre, The Gunfight at Dodge City, and Red Skies of Montana, delivers The Big Circus. The storyline for this picture is okay and fun to watch unfold. This isn't completely predictable and there is a nice blend of fascinating characters. The cast is pretty amazing and includes Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Victor Mature, Red Buttons, Rhonda Fleming, Kathryn Grant, and Gilbert Roland. "I'm never going to forget this, mister." "I've already forgotten you. Now get out of here." I DVR'd this picture last Halloween season because it starred Peter Lorre and Vincent Price. This was definitely an above average drama because it had wonderful actors and characters; however, the primary plot could have been a lot better. This could have been better but is definitely worth a viewing. "Everybody has to die." Grade: B- Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review Audience Member Everything but the kitchen sink is thrown in to this colorful pageant about the struggle for a circus's survival . It's bright but empty however Peter Lorre playing a clown is genius casting. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Low-budget version of DeMille's "The Greatest Show on Earth." Here, future Master-of-Disaster Irwin Allen stages a couple minor disasters, and has one off camera (a train wreck, like in TGSOE). Is it wrong that I wanted to see the train wreck on camera? C'mon, it's Irwin Allen, creator of "The Poseidon Adventure," etc. Oh, well! The movie's pretty routine, routinely cast, with the exception of Red Buttons, who is very good. Lots of melodrama, but some good circus sequences. And, it's in CinemaScope, unlike TGSOE, which came out a year before the widescreen process. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/15/23 Full Review Audience Member not as good as the big budget demille circus pic(greatest show on earth) but watchable Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member The script is cheesy throughout, but despite it being a slow paced whodonit, it's a decent enough one that keeps you guessing to the end. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Big Circus

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Hank Whirling (Victor Mature) is the owner of a big top circus that is struggling to make ends meet. After accepting a hefty bank loan, Hank must take advice from a curmudgeonly loan officer (Red Buttons) and a well-intentioned but rash publicist (Rhonda Fleming), while also caring for his impetuous younger sister (Kathryn Grant). But these obstacles are nothing compared to those created by an elusive saboteur who has been letting animals loose, setting fires and getting people killed.
Director
Joseph M. Newman
Production Co
Allied Artists Pictures Corporation, Irwin Allen Productions
Genre
Adventure
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Jul 5, 1959, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Jun 22, 2009
Runtime
1h 49m
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