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||IMDB Rating: 6.2/10 from 1,555 votes
||Release: 25 June 1964 (USA) /
||Genre: Drama, Western
||Director: Henry Hathaway,
||Stars: Claudia Cardinale, Francois Calepides, John Smith, John Wayne, José María Caffarel, Katharyna, Katherine Kath, Kay Walsh, Lloyd Nolan, Margaret MacGrath, Miles Malleson, Richard Conte, Rita Hayworth, Robert Cunningham, Wanda Rotha
||Synopsis: In the early years of the 20th century, Matt Masters takes his rambling Wild West Show to Europe. His decision is prompted by his desire to find Lili Alfredo, who disappeared fourteen years earlier following the death of her husband, The Flying Alfredo. At the time it was believed that Alfredo dove to his death deliberately when he realized his wife loved Matt and not him. Toni, a beautiful trapeze performer, raised by Matt is actually Lili's daughter, and she is in love with Steve McCabe, one of the stars on Matt's show. Doing their first show in Barcelona, aboard a ship, the ship keels over and Matt loses his show. Now broke, he leaves for Paris with Toni, Steve and his long-time friend, Cap Carson, to seek a job with Colonel Purdy's Wild West Show. But a year later, Matt has rebuilt his own show. First to be signed is a remarkable 12-year-old wire-walker named Giovana, and her guardian, Tojo the Clown, whose real named is Aldo Alfredo, formerly of the Flying Alfredos. Continuing ... Written by Les Adams <[email protected]>
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I remember seeing this film as a lad on a family outing in Manhattan,
topped off by my insistence that we have dinner at Jack Dempsey's
Restaurant in Manhattan. Too bad the old champ wasn't there that day or
it would have been a perfect Sunday.
Seeing it now on a formatted VHS the awesomeness of the spectacle
during the scenes of the circus fires and the capsized ship in the
harbor is really lost. It's quite an eyeful and should only be scene in
And the film would be revived, but we have a subdued John Wayne here
and it's not for the better.
This was originally to be a Frank Capra film and Capra bowed out after
creative differences with the Duke and some of the Duke's personal
entourage. Read the Capra autobiography to find out exactly what they
were, but they weren't fully fixed in the final product by director
Henry Hathaway who later piloted the Duke to his Oscar in True Grit.
John Wayne was a guy who was usually very careful to give the public
the Duke they expected. Even when he stretched his abilities it was
done with a firm directorial hand.
We're asked to accept the Duke as a man who had an adulterous affair
here. He also does not throw one punch in this entire film or fire a
weapon in other than it being part of his Wild West Show. The people
went to see John Wayne, but they didn't get their money's worth.
Pity because it would have been great to see John Wayne with Rita
Hayworth in a great film. That couldn't have happened when they were
younger because of Rita's contract with Columbia pictures and Wayne's
personal boycotting of that studio because of his dislike for Harry
Cohn. That story I won't go into.
Rita Hayworth who doesn't enter into the film until almost halfway
through is fine as Wayne's lost love. She and Claudia Cardinale looked
just fine in tights as trapeze artists. Lloyd Nolan as Wayne's sidekick
is always good.
Richard Conte is Hayworth's brother-in-law and Cardinale's uncle. This
fine actor is wasted here in a part that either was badly written or
left on the cutting room floor.
John Smith was a Wayne protégé of sorts, Wayne gave him an early break
in The High and the Mighty which he produced. Smith went on to star in
the Laramie TV series and on completion of that he was cast opposite
Cardinale, probably at Wayne's insistence. I remember always wondering
what happened to him because he left show business shortly afterward.
Then back in the Nineties I read he had died of cirrhosis of the liver.
I guess you can fill in the blanks.
At the time Circus World came out, there was on television a prime time
series called International Showtime. It was on Fridays at 8 pm. and it
was set in a different city in Europe every week. Hosted by Don Ameche
it featured the very best circus acts in the world. So did Circus
World, but it certainly was no incentive for people to come out to see
this when they could see the same thing at home. Also Paramount
re-released Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth to a brisk
box office business at the same time Circus World came out.
So for all these reasons Circus World flopped and bankrupted producer
Samuel Bronstein. Nevertheless if you're a circus fan you will enjoy
seeing this. But it's not the Duke his fans have come to expect.
Tags for Circus World Full Movie
, Francois Calepides
, John Smith
, John Wayne
, José María Caffarel
, Katherine Kath
, Kay Walsh
, Lloyd Nolan
, Margaret MacGrath
, Miles Malleson
, Richard Conte
, Rita Hayworth
, Robert Cunningham
, Wanda Rotha
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