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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:21 am 
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Prince Judah
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Of course. Perhaps those who don't like this movie are very grave and dull people, and don't like entertainment.

Welcome to the forum, mmatheson90!

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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:35 pm 
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I had this lined up on Netflix but it was listed as "very long wait" for ages so I went for broke and asked for it as a Christmas present & voila it turned up among the gifts. Just watched it today and I would rank it an entertaining drama that just happens to take place at a circus; being listed among the most amusingly bad movies by the Raspberries seems a bit harsh & uncalled for when compared to something like "Manos the Hands of Fate". Kind of funny to think that in real life Cornel Wilde (Sebastian) was actually afraid of heights. And who can forget the story of how DeMille got a fan letter about the film from a woman who believed old Chuck was a real circus manager? Highest compliment indeed. I seem to remember Chuck writing in his biography that a little boy recognized him from the film not long after it was made and went up to him saying "Hey you're Brad!" or something like that. For some reason you never seem to hear stories like that from modern stars (though I'm sure such things still happen from time to time), heartwarming as they are.

Apparently Burt Lancaster, a real life former circus acrobat, was offered Wilde's role, as was his frequent partner in cinematic crime Kirk Douglas (Lancaster would later star in "Trapeze" with his "Sweet Smell of Success" partner Tony Curtis while Douglas did "The Story of Three Loves"). Seems a bit of a shame we missed a chance to see Chuck square off with either Burt or Kirk. The steely blue eyes, the mighty jaws, the big voices. It would have been awesome, maybe too awesome for the screen to handle.

Another thing I'll never forget from Chuck's bio - co-star James Stewart (Buttons the Clown) wishing him luck at the Oscars for "Ben-Hur" years later, and how Stewart was the only actor could say that and actually mean it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:10 pm 
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Prince Judah
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EL-CID-1983 wrote:
...And who can forget the story of how DeMille got a fan letter about the film from a woman who believed old Chuck was a real circus manager? Highest compliment indeed.
This famous story was brought up again on the thread about Heston's possibly best acting jobs. It made me think back to a long time ago when I first read about this. I was very young, perhaps 11 or 12 years old, and just becoming acquainted with movies and famous actors. When I first heard about this story, my interpretation of it was that Heston had been working as a circus manager at the time (1951) when DeMille spotted him and decided to have him act in the film. :lol: (the blurb I read this from may have been written tongue-in-cheek and my young mind interpreted it too literally). Of course, I had just assumed that the fan who wrote this letter knew what she was talking about - and that Heston was indeed a circus manager at the time he was cast in the Brad role. For a little while, that was my view of Heston - that he got his big break in movies from DeMille while working as a circus manager! (I had no clue at the time about Dark City [1950] or Heston's early TV career). I think it was about a month later that I read up on it some more and realized that the fan was clueless. Ah, the naivety of youth... :-?

EL-CID-1983 wrote:
Apparently Burt Lancaster, a real life former circus acrobat, was offered Wilde's role, as was his frequent partner in cinematic crime Kirk Douglas (Lancaster would later star in "Trapeze" with his "Sweet Smell of Success" partner Tony Curtis while Douglas did "The Story of Three Loves"). Seems a bit of a shame we missed a chance to see Chuck square off with either Burt or Kirk.
Yes, that's why I included at least a couple of films in that old Alternate Films thread in which Heston starred with Lancaster and then Douglas in some fantasy alternate world. That would have been some pairing in a film and it will be to the eternal regret of some fans that it never happened in our reality...


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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:04 pm 
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Prince Judah
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We lament for that lost and golden naivety, indeed!

But Chuck could have been a circus manager, you see? He handled and carried the chimpanjee child for the whole 'season', befriended it, and remembers its weight and diet at the time of writing his autobiography. He lifted a boa and gives an expert's comment about its skin temperature! He examined the elephant's feet with his own hand, he sympathised with the tiger that it should not be forced to jump across his chest, by touching its posterior with a hose. What more qualification does one need to be a circus manager?

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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:19 pm 
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Jerry Pickman, the famous marketing and publicity manager in hollywood, talks about his association with DeMille during the shooting of 'The Greatest Show on Earth'. They also worked together in 'Ten Commandments'. If you are interested in Pickman's contribution to the marketing of many other great movies, visit

http://inmedia.revues.org/606

Quote:
"I was very close to Cecil B. DeMille on The Greatest Show on Earth. I spent three or four weeks in Sarasota where he was shooting the picture and traveled with him. I looked at some footage on the picture and he asked me what I thought. I said:

Fine, but I think we got a problem. I don’t think people will believe that Betty Hutton really left the trapeze and swung through the air and was actually caught by Cornel Wilde as true circus performers. They’re going to say it’s trick photography. They are not going to believe an elephant stepped on Dorothy Lamour’s head and other things.

He said, “What will we do about it?” I said:

We’ve got to get the entire company and do it under a true canvas setting in the actual circus just so that we can say The Greatest Show on Earth was actually filmed under the Big Top. If we do that, C.B., I will bring out 100 newspapermen and we’ll put them in the audience and we’ll let Betty Hutton fly through the air, and let the people see her leave the trapeze, and let them see Cornel Wilde grab her by the wrist, and so on and so on.

It would have cost $900,000 to do it. He said, “Do you know my deal?” I said, “The company pays everything to you and once the negative cost is returned twice you get 50 cents of every dollar.” If it costs $5,000,000 to make the picture, he doesn’t get a dime until the picture earns $10,000,000. He said, “Jerry, I have to earn almost $2,000,000 more to do what you are asking me. Will Paramount take half of it?” I said, “Certainly.” I didn’t have to go to anybody because I knew it was a deal. We went to Philadelphia, we got the 100 newspapermen, we did the thing, and it worked. The Greatest Show on Earth became an event movie and was nominated for Best Picture and won the award. That’s an example of marketing, where we made a contribution."

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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:40 am 
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I was just watching a favorite film of mine from the sixties called Hatari! (1962), directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne as the leader of a small group who capture wild animals in East Africa for zoos. In an early scene, even before the credits, one of the characters, nicknamed "The Indian," gets injured by a Rhino and soon needs a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, his blood type is the rare AB negative and none of his companions in the group have that blood type. Things look bad for a brief time. As it happens, a young hotshot seeking a job with the group has that blood type, but he just had a serious argument with the group and one group member in particular, so him providing the needed blood happens amid this odd tension and hostility.

Does all this sound familiar to members here who have seen THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH? It should. And, this familiar scene in the Heston film happens in a film exactly one decade later. The main difference is that it happens near the beginning of Hatari!, while it happened near the end of THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. Interesting, eh? 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:39 am 
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Yeah, I've seen Hatari! but that never really crossed my mind.

Never really cared for the movie, to be honest. Maybe it needs a second viewing to be more appreciated?

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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Detective Thorn wrote:
Yeah, I've seen Hatari! but that never really crossed my mind.

I didn't realize it until yesterday and I think it's because I also watched THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH only a few days before. The tone of the two scenes was very similar - in Hatari!, when the blood type is made known, the young hotshot begins to laugh; John Wayne asks him what he is laughing about; that's when the young guy reveals his blood type. It's all nearly identical to how the scene played out with Cornel Wilde in THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, when Wilde starts to chuckle and then reveals his own blood type to Heston and his companions. I now find it hard to believe that it's just a coincidence and it seems like the writers copied directly from DeMille's film. But, who knows?

Detective Thorn wrote:
Never really cared for the movie, to be honest. Maybe it needs a second viewing to be more appreciated?

Maybe - but that's doubtful. The film has its own unique brand of character styles and story style, courtesy of director Hawks, and you either enjoy it or you don't. It has a kind of lazy, ambling style to it during much of the film (when they're not chasing animals). Hawks stressed the interaction among the main characters. Viewers are either enamored of these characters or find them to be a boring waste of time - it depends on the person. Myself, I first saw this many years ago on TV when I was a kid and was immediately charmed by the characters and the locale - exotic Africa - and I found myself fully absorbed by the whole tale, as if I was actually with these people in Africa during their day-to-day life there. Now that I'm a lot older, I find some of this to be silly and tedious - the character played by Red Buttons is too much the foolish clown - but I still enjoy most of it. The only thing that seems a little strange to me is how the film stresses 'older man-young woman' relationships; the men (Wayne, Buttons) are obviously much older than the women they get involved with in this film; some people may find it all a bit creepy - but it was another time and still involves consenting adults, so that's how it is. Many viewers are also annoyed by how the characters constantly smoke in this film :lol: - I don't smoke but, again, it was another time.


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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:06 am 
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Prince Judah
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That must be a very interesting similarity, but the point is, the way blood transfusion is shown in THE GREATEST SHOW, is a bit...non-scientific. Of course, there was very little time, and that was all what could be arranged, still how can a doctor do it so. I have great respect for Jimmy Stewert, but in that scene he looked more like a lab-assistant who has picked up some doctorly skills, and forced to do it, not very confident, at a time of crisis. That is one weak point in the otherwise magnificent movie.

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 Post subject: Re: The Greatest Show on Earth
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:58 pm 
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itsjudah24 wrote:
I have great respect for Jimmy Stewert, but in that scene he looked more like a lab-assistant who has picked up some doctorly skills, and forced to do it, not very confident, at a time of crisis. That is one weak point in the otherwise magnificent movie.

Can't say I've ever noticed that, or thought about it. I'll think about it on my next viewing.

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