Friday, September 5, 2014

1952 - THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, is certainly one of the longest.

Clocking in at over 2 hours this Cecil B. DeMille corn fest finally wears out it's welcome towards the last 20 or 30 minutes of the film.  For all the subplots and characters in the film, the story has a "seen it all before" quality and seen it made a lot better by other people.

The cast is certainly unusual.  The insufferable Betty Hutton is the female lead who manages to fall in love with two men.  If there was one thing that Betty Hutton could never project as an actor that was sex appeal.  If you needed a loud mouthed overbearing and clueless personality Hutton was the one to cast.  Cornel Wilde is the trapeze artist who is a continental European Lothario in the best tradition of "B" movie screen lovers. His French accent is really terrible.  Charlton Heston is the brooding circus manager.  Heston wants to bring the circus to all the small towns of America but he is so intense and scary in his performance he would make an audience want to run to one of those new fangled outdoor drive in 50's movie theaters instead.  In the supporting cast is one of the 50's hottest actors Gloria Grahame who nobody seems to hit on much.  I guess when you have Betty Hutton around why would you want Gloria Grahame.  Finally there is James Stewart playing "Buttons a clown."

After what seems like hours and hours of circus parades and clown antics the film climaxes in a spectacular train wreck sequence.  The sequence would have been even more spectauloar if the train didn't look like some model train that was fimed in some kid's  hobby corner.  DeMille always made epic films with less than epic special effects.

A big disappointment from Cecil B. DeMille, but the film made a lot of money by 1950's standards.

152 minutes

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