The Big Circus
|The Big Circus|
|Directed by||Joseph M. Newman|
|Produced by||Irwin Allen|
|Screenplay by||Irwin Allen
|Story by||Irwin Allen|
|Music by||Paul Sawtell
|Edited by||Adrienne Fazan|
|Distributed by||Allied Artists Pictures|
|Running time||108–109 minutes|
|Box office||$2.7 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
Hank Whirling needs a bank's help to keep his Whirling Circus going. He gets a loan on the condition he take along accountant Randy Sherman and publicist Helen Harrison to help the circus turn a profit.
Hank's top act is the Colino trapeze troupe, featuring family patriarch Zach and newcomer Tommy Gordon. Unknown to Hank, his little sister Jeannie has held a lifelong ambition to fly on the trapeze.
An unknown saboteur sets a lion loose, terrifying an audience until Hank manages to tame it. Helen accuses him of staging the incident for publicity. She and Randy are infuriated by Hank's refusal to accept their help. Randy's attempt to save money by firing workers and replacing them with a machine that raises the big-top tent is also sabotaged, leading to a death and many suspicions and accusations.
With the bank about to foreclose, Hank goes to television star Steve Allen to seek needed publicity for the circus. A wire walk across Niagara Falls by Zach is also held, amidst fear of additional sabotage. By the time Jeannie finally gets a shot at flying on the trapeze, Hank realizes that Tommy is the culprit, having a history of mental illness and a grudge against the circus. Jeannie's life and the future of the circus is left hanging by a thread.
- Victor Mature as Henry Jasper 'Hank' Whirling
- Red Buttons as Randy Sherman
- Rhonda Fleming as Helen Harrison
- Kathryn Grant as Jeannie Whirling
- Vincent Price as Hans Hagenfeld
- Gilbert Roland as Zach Colino
- Peter Lorre as Skeeter
- David Nelson as Tommy Gordon
- Adele Mara as Maria 'Mama' Colino
- Howard McNear as Mr. Lomax
- Charles Watts as Jonathan Nelson
- Steve Allen as himself (cameo)
- "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
- "'Big Circus' Coming to Airport Drive-In". The Paris (Texas) News. 1959-11-22.
- The Big Circus at the TCM Movie Database
- The Big Circus at the Internet Movie Database
- The Big Circus at AllMovie
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