The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)

Cecil B DeMille directs Charlton Heston, James Stewart and Betty Hutton in this ensemble drama set around Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Not Academy Award for Best Picture worthy but still a perfectly serviceable afternoon killer. You get elephant parades and high wire stunts. Love hexagons and train crashes. Genuinely priceless documentary footage of the big top being raised and crowds being worked. A dozen big name cameos and James Stewart as a lovelorn clown with a dark secret who never removes his make-up. Forget all that though… as Gloria Grahame’s eighth billed elephant girl sets fire to the screen every time she appears. It makes you wonder why all the soapy back stabbing and powerplays aren’t over her?

6

My Top 10 James Stewart Movie

1. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1963)

2. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

3. Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

4. Rear Window (1954)

5. Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

6. Winchester ‘73 (1950)

7. Rope (1948)

8. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

9. Vertigo (1958)

10. The Glenn Miller Story (1954)

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