Billy Rose's Jumbo (film)

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Billy Rose's Jumbo
Poster - Billy Rose's Jumbo.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Charles Walters
Produced by Martin Melcher
Joe Pasternak
Written by Ben Hecht
Charles MacArthur
Sidney Sheldon
Starring Doris Day
Stephen Boyd
Jimmy Durante
Martha Raye
Music by Richard Rodgers & Lorentz Hart
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Edited by Richard W. Farrell
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) December 6, 1962 (1962-12-06)
Running time 127 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5,256,000[1]
Box office $ 4 million[1]

Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962) is an American musical film produced by MGM in Panavision and Metrocolor, and starring Jimmy Durante, Doris Day, Martha Raye, and Stephen Boyd. The film was directed by Charles Walters and featured Busby Berkeley's choreography. It was nominated for an Academy Award for the adaptation of its Rodgers and Hart score.

The title came from the original Broadway show, which opened on November 16, 1935, and was the last musical produced at the New York Hippodrome before it was torn down in 1939. Billy Rose produced the original stage version. Rose stipulated that if a film version was ever made, he must be credited in the title, even if he were not personally involved.

Both play and film feature songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, although the film borrows two songs from Rodgers and Hart shows other than Jumbo (including This Can't Be Love, from The Boys from Syracuse). The screenplay was written by Sidney Sheldon.

Despite featuring such Rodgers and Hart standards as "My Romance" and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", neither the original play nor the film was especially successful. The film was Doris Day's last screen musical.

Stephen Boyd's singing voice was dubbed by James Joyce.

On April 2, 2007, Robert Osborne of TCM, introducing the MGM film Fearless Fagan (1952) directed by Stanley Donen, said that Donen was due to direct Jumbo right after Singin' in the Rain in 1952. However, MGM decided the script was not ready, so Jumbo was not filmed until 1962 with a different director and stars.

Both play and film feature Durante leading a live elephant and being stopped by a police officer, who asks him, "What are you doing with that elephant?" Durante's reply, "What elephant?", was a show-stopper in 1935. This comedy bit was reprised in his role in Billy Rose's Jumbo and is likely to have contributed to the popularity of the idiom, "Elephant in the Room."

Plot[edit]

The Wonder Circus comes to a town in the Midwest with its featured attraction, Jumbo the elephant. Pop Warner owns the circus, but his continued gambling losses in crap games leaves him (and the circus) with an ever-growing number of IOUs.

His daughter, Kitty Wonder, hires a newcomer, Sam Rawlins, as both a performer and tent hand. She is unaware that Sam is the son of circus mogul John Noble, whose ambition is to buy the Wonder Circus for himself. Noble has been quietly buying up the IOUs with Sam's help and abruptly takes control of the family's business, leaving the Wonders without a show.

Kitty, Pop and his longtime fiancee Lulu go off on their own, forming a traveling carnival, but it isn't quite the same. Sam, however, has fallen in love with Kitty and has a guilty conscience about what he has done. Sam splits from his father and rejoins the Wonders, bringing with him an old friend of theirs, Jumbo.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

MGM bought the rights to the musical soon after it reached the stage. In 1947 Charles Waters requested he make the film of the musical as his first assignment; the studio agreed but production was held up due to litigation. Years later MGM made the movie.[2]

Soundtrack[edit]

A soundtrack album Billy Rose's Jumbo of the film was issued by Columbia Records in 1962.

Reception[edit]

According to MGM accounts, the film earned $2.5 million in the US and Canada and $1.5 million overseas, but because of its high cost recorded a loss of $3,956,000. It was the last film producer Joe Pasternak made at MGM.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Conquest of Mars Told by Bradbury: MGM Will Picturize Novel; Walters Explains 'Jumbo' Yen Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 15 Feb 1960: C9.

External links[edit]