Circus World (film)

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Circus World
Circus World.jpg
Directed by Henry Hathaway
Produced by Samuel Bronston
Written by Ben Hecht
Julian Halevy
James Edward Grant
Starring John Wayne
Claudia Cardinale
Rita Hayworth
Lloyd Nolan
John Smith
Richard Conte
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Cinematography Jack Hildyard
Edited by Dorothy Spencer
Samuel Bronston Productions
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (US)
Rank Organization (UK)
Release date(s)
  • June 25, 1964 (1964-06-25) (US)
  • July 16, 1964 (1964-07-16) (UK)
Running time 135 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 million (estimate)
Box office $1,550,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

Circus World (released as The Magnificent Showman in the United Kingdom) is a 1964 drama film starring John Wayne, Claudia Cardinale and Rita Hayworth. It was directed by Henry Hathaway and produced by Samuel Bronston, with a screenplay by Ben Hecht, Julian Halevy and James Edward Grant, from a story by Philip Yordan and Nicholas Ray.

The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Song for Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington (lyrics), while Rita Hayworth was nominated for the Best Actress award.


At the turn of the 20th century, circus owner Matt Masters (John Wayne) takes his troupe on a tour of Europe in search of his long-lost love, Lili Alfredo (Rita Hayworth). With him are Lili's daughter, Toni (Claudia Cardinale), whom she abandoned years earlier and whom he has raised as his own, and his faithful friend, Cap Carson (Lloyd Nolan).

The circus is lost in a sinking ship, but Masters manages to salvage part of it. With the help of some European acts, he puts together a new show. Masters ultimately finds Lili, so mother and daughter are reunited.

Production notes[edit]

  • Its music score was by Dimitri Tiomkin and the cinematography by Jack Hildyard.
  • The film was made in Super Technirama 70 and labeled in posters as being presented in Cinerama, though true Cinerama required three projectors running simultaneously to show one image.
  • This was Wayne's last film before his lung cancer operation.
  • It was speculated that at the time this film was made, Rita Hayworth may have already been suffering the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. She was often late and had trouble remembering her lines and it was reported she was often drunk and abusive to those on the set. John Wayne had previously looked forward to working with her, but it was said he came to despise her behavior.
  • David Niven was originally cast as Cap Carson, but withdrew from the film.
  • Frank Capra was originally going to direct, but quit during pre-production over disagreements with Wayne's favored screenwriter, James Edward Grant.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The film was the basis for a novel by the Spanish author Juan Miñana which was originally published in 1999 with the Spanish title Noticias del mundo real (News from the Real World). It is about two young Spanish law students who search the city of Barcelona for main actor John Wayne who has not returned to the hotel for another day of shooting.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1964", Variety, 6 January 1965 p 39. Please note this figure is rentals accruing to distributors not total gross.

External links[edit]