Circus World


Action / Drama / Western

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 40%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 30%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 1953


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April 13, 2014 at 03:04 AM



John Wayne as Matt Masters
Claudia Cardinale as Toni Alfredo
Rita Hayworth as Lili Alfredo
Richard Conte as Aldo Alfredo
2.05 GB
24.000 fps
2hr 15 min
P/S 4 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 6 / 10

Circus drama full of character and spectacle

CIRCUS WORLD is a lavish bit of spectacle that acts as a nice showcase for John Wayne's naturalistic talents. He plays a circus owner who decides to bring his Wild West act to Europe with disastrous consequences, forcing him to go on a journey of self-realisation that sees him hooking up and making amends for his old life.

I'm not a huge fan of circuses in cinema unless they're used for horror and suspense flicks, in which case they become a great setting (watch CIRCUS OF HORRORS and CIRCUS OF FEAR to see what I mean). However, Henry Hathaway shoots the Big Top very well here, and his circus scenes are filled with excitement. I can leave the cruel animal bits but the high wire acts are fantastic, the bits with the clowns are funny, and the Wild West show at the film's opening recalls BEN HUR-style spectacle.

Wayne is the figure who holds this all together with a dauntless man-of-action performance. He's joined by a slightly tragic past-her-prime Rita Hayworth, who still impresses as his lost love, and Claudia Cardinale who is a vision of beauty as his adopted daughter. The film looks expensive and despite the slow pace it keeps you watching from beginning to end, never failing to entertain despite the odd shortcoming.

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 7 / 10

A curious mixture of both good and bad elements!

RELEASE DETAILS: Copyright 25 June 1964 by Samuel Bronston—Midway Productions. Released through Paramount Pictures. New York opening at Loew's Cinerama: 25 June 1964. U.S. release: 25 June 1964. U.K. release through Rank Film Distributors: 28 December 1964. London opening: 16 July 1964. Australian release through British Empire Films: 4 June 1965. 135 minutes (U.S.); 143 minutes (Australia). U.K. release title: The MAGNIFICENT SHOWMAN.

SYNOPSIS: In the early 1900's, an American impresario takes his circus to Europe.

COMMENT: "A dismally trite and obvious picture" wrote Bosley Crowther in The New York Times. I would not go anywhere like this far, but yes, the script is undeniably weak. Story issues are introduced which are neither resolved nor developed (particularly those involving Richard Conte character). Much tighter editing would help. We were almost asleep before the climactic fire re-awoke us to the earlier spectacular potential of the script, as in the early boat capsize episode. Both the boat capsize and the fire are particularly well-staged — a seamless collaboration between Hathaway and Talmadge (or did Hathaway stage these eps himself?). Talmadge undoubtedly did the "runaway" horse in the street and all the circus material where the hand of Renoir can be clearly detected in the characteristic use of more muted color than Hildyard is using for the main unit.

Certainly Wayne himself is doing some of his own stunts, though a very obvious process screen is often employed.

Acting is more creditable than usual under Hathaway's direction, despite the weak and familiar plot, the tedious dialogue and unresolved drama (presumably Conte started the fire and planted the stuff in Claudia Cardinale's dressing room, but after his dramatic impingement into Hayworth's opening shot at trapeze practice, he virtually disappears.

Claudia herself is perhaps a little too enthusiastically vivacious and Mr. Smith is far too much of an eager-beaver, but Hayworth's restrained performance holds her scenes together. Wayne is his usual self. Nolan is a liability (admittedly he has the worst of the faithful, trusted sidekick dialogue) but Katherine Kath makes a memorable impression in her scene as Hayworth's former landlady. Kay Walsh has a tiny spot.

A great deal of well-deserved footage is given over to the circus acts themselves — the plate sequence with the clowns is most amusingly well-timed, and I enjoyed the introductory act by Conte's double — the clown on the high wire!

Reviewed by mmcgee282 9 / 10


I finally saw this film on you tube recently.It was very sharp excellent print.Unless my memory is fuzzy,I think I had saw it on television too,I had not seen it since I first saw it at the state theater in 65, in El Paso Texas.This was not a road show print .It was mono and regular scope.The Irony is we had the Capri theater that showed Cinerama ,but it did not premiered there.This later version ,I saw, a road show print ,restored from the Technirama original negative.It had intermission music , for some reason in mono sound.Enter Acte music and exit music.It was very entertaining,but not John Wayne's best.Some time the voices got out of sync .The Polka music in the Celebrating for getting the tent party,by Dimitri Tomkin,Sounded exactly like the same music used in the fair sequence in ,"Friendly Persuasion.This better print sounded a lot better than the theatrical mono print.The story is just fair ,not great.You never understood why the ship tipped over all of sudden.This was created to take advantage 8 Perf 35 mm Technirama wide film and for the effects of the artificial Cinerama presentation.Bronson believed in spectacle in his films ,but at the cost of common economical sense,which led to his downfall as a producer,when he began to loose money on his films.One thing is you never saw Purdey character at the Colonel Purdy's wild West show.You never know who sent that article about The Death of Toni Alfredo's father to Toni and who started the fire,Was it Conti's character?that was another problem in the film.In spite of it all it was still worth watching.Too bad a Blu- ray version wasn't available on the u.s. 09/11/16

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