Circus World


2h 15m 1964

Brief Synopsis

Circus owner Matt Masters is beset by disasters as he attempts a European tour of his circus. At the same time, he is caught in an emotional bind between his adopted daughter and her mother.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Jun 1964
Production Company
Bronston--Midway Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1, 2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Matt Masters, an American circus impresario in the early 1900's, decides to take his circus and Wild West Show to Europe, with the ulterior motive of finding Lili Alfredo, mother of Toni, the young circus performer whom Matt has protected since Lili's disappearance 14 years earlier. Lili had been married to an aerialist though in love with Matt; and when her husband fell to his death, it was rumored that he committed suicide because of Lili's unfaithfulness. The troupe puts on a show aboard the circus boat in Barcelona; when a performer falls overboard, the huge audience surges to the railing, causing the ship to capsize. No lives are lost, but the circus is destroyed. Matt, Toni, and Steve McCabe, Toni's boyfriend, join a touring Wild West Show and are a great success. Matt plans to put together another show and rehearse it in Spain during the winter before touring. In Madrid, Lili turns up in the audience and later tells Matt that Toni is better off not knowing about her mother. Later, Lili asks for a job in the circus, but she is still determined to keep her identity a secret, until Tojo, a clown, tells Toni about Lili and about her father's suicide. Toni becomes hysterical and is about to confront Lili in hatred when Matt stops her and tells her that her mother was refused a divorce by her father. A fire breaks out, and Toni and Lili, scaling a rope to the top of the tent, save the major part of the big top from burning. When the fire is extinguished, Lili and Toni embrace; and at the opening of the circus the next night, the two perform an aerial act. At the end, Matt and Lili marry, and Toni and Steve also marry.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Jun 1964
Production Company
Bronston--Midway Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1, 2.35 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

While filming a scene where the main tent catches fire, 'John Wayne' was almost killed when the set collapsed. As he was "fighting" the fire, Wayne was to be cued by the assistant director when to leave before the set was to collapse in flames. Either Wayne didn't hear the cue, or the a.d. mistimed it (it was never determined which), but the flaming set began to collapse before Wayne got out. He escaped with just a few seconds to spare before the entire set would have fallen down on top of him.

Frank Capra began this project but left due to unhappines with the script and budget.

Notes

Although Julian Halevy was given co-credit for the screenplay and Philip Yordan was given co-credit for the story when the film was initially released, according to official WGA records, Halevy was a pseudonym for writer Julian Zimet and Yordan was a front for writer Bernard Gordon. The WGA changed the screenplay credit to read: "Screenplay by Ben Hecht, Julian Zimet and James Edward Grant. Story by Bernard Gordon and Nicholas Ray." The running time for the film listed in the copyright record was 131 minutes. Circus World was presented in Cinerama for roadshow engagements.

Miscellaneous Notes

1964 Golden Globe Winner for Best Original Song ("Circus World").

Released in United States on Video March 15, 1989

Released in United States Summer June 25, 1964

Released in 35mm and 70mm prints.

Super Technirama 70

Released in United States on Video March 15, 1989

Released in United States Summer June 25, 1964