Clown for a New Day

Clown for a New Day
Dagwood might make it in today's emasculated circus

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Today is WORLD CIRCUS DAY! How About a Movie Tonight?

Here are my favorites, not necessarily in this order, except for my top pick


Beyond being a "circus" movie, Trapeze is a great drama, combing a torrid love triangle with one trapeze flyer's quest to master the triple.  Set in Paris, famed circus talent scout John Ringling North checks in now and then, ready to sign the flyer to a contract once he proves he can do it.


Yes, The Greatest Show on Earth Of course, it has to be here, it offers too much of a circus to ignore.   And too much (two and a half hours) to sit through; I would like to hire an editor and cut out the most boring parts and end up with my own greatest show on earth.  First to go would be most of the train wreck, which IS a train wreck, sucking up the film's waning momentum and my patience.  Yes, the best moments are dazzling, thrilling, memorable, all that.  But the more I watch De Mille's lumbering epic, which thrilled me like no other film in my boyhood, the more difficult it is to watch. 


Toby Tyler is warm and touching story, a wonderful movie.


I once called Ring of Fear "Ring of Drek," but, I've grown accustomed to its modestly enduring appeal, smartly contained in a tight 1 hour and 33 minutes, a full hour less than De Mille's bloated elephant.  Ring has likable characters (the Mexican guy, the older fellow with the drinking problem, Clyde Beatty himself, the lovely helpless heroine), a few good circus  acts, the wagons coming off the train at dawn, a haunting musical theme -- and that monster maniac who gets it in the end, getting locked up inside a box car with a loose lion!  Go, lion, go!  (or is it tiger?)
 

Spangles.  There are many reasons to love this 1926 silent classic. At the top of the list, authentic big top atmosphere -- or so it appears..  And you'll have to rent it to find out for yourself.  You can read my complete review by typing "spangles" in the blogger search box, above, left.


A wondrous cinematic gift from Fellini, The Clowns.  Very hard to find.

About Fellini's La Strada

My original posting included this dramatic masterpiece about itinerant circus and carnival performers.  I hadn't seen it in years, and said I was going to see it again.  I have, and I can't really regard it as a circus film.  Brief bits of a few circus acts hardly take us into the world of circus. 

Big Top Pee Wee is a joyful romp --  entrancing, whimsical, one of the most touching circus flicks ever made. 


Circo, more a documentary, captures the spare beauty of a profitless passion.  The film follows a typical Mexican family circus struggling to stay on the road. A soft ringing authenticity
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Now, for some lowdown trashy fun, you might invite either or both of these odd ball flicks into your home on a listless night in need of a little tacky shock-cinema relief




So there they are.  Pick one or two, turn your damn dumb phone off, and bring on the dark.

5 comments:

Arlee Bird said...

All great picks. For Fellini I would also suggest the mockumentary Clowns a wonderful surrealistically strange look at the world of circus and the art of clowning.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Showbiz David said...

How right you are, Arlee.

I had overlooked The Clowns, and I'm adding it to the list.

Hard to understand why it is so hard to find. Netflix does not even stock it.

Thanks!

Arlee Bird said...

The copy of Clowns that I have is in video form released from a rather poor print. I've seen the film in DVD format available from Amazon, but from the reviews I've read it sounds as though the quality is still poor.

When I saw it on the big screen during my university days of the early 70's I recall the film copy they used being very good. Hopefully a copy such as Criterion will find a pristine master or clean up the best they can find and rerelease this film on the market.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Showbiz David said...

As I recall, the film had a very lyrical quality, and the music was particularly fine, from jubilant to haunting.

Arlee Bird said...

The lyrical quality is what I had remembered. Then many years later watching it again I realized how utterly zany the film is in parts. The clown routines are bizarre but fun. And I like the buffoonery of the "documentary" film crew which to me symbolized that the world of the clowns is merely a reflection of the real clowns that we all are and the nonsensical quality of much of life.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out