Running off with the circus

February 13, 2012

As I mentioned previously in this circus related post , it is a theme I very much enjoy, for that reason I thought I’d watch a couple of circus themed films:

Water for Elephants (2011), based on the novel of the same name, tells the story of a Cornell veterinary student (Robert Pattinson) who finds himself destitute after the death of his parents during the Great Depression of the 1930’s in America. He gets on the road to try and find work and is picked up by a circus. The owner hires him to deal with the animals and he is then appointed the main carer for an elephant, Rosie. The act the elephant participates in includes the circus owner’s wife, played by Reese Witherspoon. Her and the vet find themselves in love and it all sort of goes downhill from there, but I won’t give too much away in case anyone hasn’t seen it yet. It is a nice film,with beautiful costuming designed by Jacqueline West in 1930’s style, particularly Reese Witherspoon’s circus costumes:

On a side note, I like this novel cover:
All in all, 6 elephants out of 10.
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) tells, again, a story of love and circus. This time the trapeze girl, loved by the trapeze boy and the circus owner. Who will get her in the end? Some of the trapeze scenes are breathtaking, it is such a scary activity! This film stars a few old Hollywood legends – James Stewart, playing Buttons the Clown with the dark secret, Charlton Heston, playing the Circus owner. This is a Cecil B DeMille film and of course had to be in grandiose Technicolor style, with brightly coloured lavish costumes, a true feast for the eyes. 
Sadly I couldn’t find any colour images on Google, I should have taken some screenshots while I was watching it, but the following still give an idea.

This one I’ll give it 7 trapezes out of 10
I would also like to find a circus film I remember watching with my grandmother when I was a kid (back when a lot of the films shown on tv were old Hollywood), about a circus that had a fire and the story revolved around a few of the people picking up the pieces and rebuilding it. I really don’t know the title of the film. If you think you’ve seen it please let me know! Also drop me a comment if you have any other circus film suggestion 🙂
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  • Reply edie pop February 14, 2012 at 16:38

    'Water for elephants' seems interesting, I'haven't watch it already, I love vintage circus atmosphere, the first circus film that comes to my mind is Tod Browning's 'Freaks',but it is surely more disturbing, even if I love it so much!


    • Reply Mrs. D February 14, 2012 at 17:53

      Thank you! Good suggestion about Tod Browning. Besides 'Freaks' he also has 'the Unknown', about an armless knife thrower featuring Gloria Swanson and Lon Chaney. Definitely a must see too (I liked it).

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