Search - The Greatest Show on Earth on DVD

The Greatest Show on Earth
The Greatest Show on Earth
Actors: Charlton Heston, Betty Hutton, Lyle Bettger, Cornel Wilde, Emmett Kelly
Genres: Classics, Drama, Kids & Family
NR     2004     2hr 32min



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Movie Details

Actors: Charlton Heston, Betty Hutton, Lyle Bettger, Cornel Wilde, Emmett Kelly
Genres: Classics, Drama, Kids & Family
Sub-Genres: Classics, Love & Romance, Classics, Family Films
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/06/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 32min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Sawdust memories
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 01/18/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's often said that the only reason Cecil B. De Mille's THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH won the 1952 Best Picture Oscar is Academy voters were reluctant to choose HIGH NOON, which was scripted by the recently HUAC-blacklisted Carl Foreman.

Unless you're a fan of circus parades and goings-on under the big top, "Greatest Show" has long performance sections that may start to get boring. These moments also interrupt the main story of trapeze artist Betty Hutton, who's emotionally torn between pipe-smoking suede-jacketed circus owner Charlton Heston and Hungarian accented Cornel Wilde as ego-driven aeralist, the Great Sebastian. When not deflecting his amorous advances, Hutton actively competes against Wilde for the coveted center ring spot.

Looking a bit matronly, Dorothy Lamour is here, as is Gloria Grahame. Both are the prolific Sebastian's ex-lovers.

This film has something for everyone. For drama, there's a character named Harry (John Kellogg) who gets smooshed as a result of a spectacular train wreck; Heston is also injured during this chaos by getting trapped under some debris. Earlier, Wilde falls and crushes his arm as he tries to outdo Hutton by performing a dangerous aerial stunt without a safety net. Clearly the circus life is fraught with hazard.

There's crime, in the form of the robbery that leads to crook Harry's injury and the death of his co-conspirator, Klaus (Lyle Bettger). Additionally, Jimmy Stewart is a clown on the run. He's an ex-medico being tracked by detectives for a mercy killing who now hides 24/7 behind his "Buttons" makeup.

For kids of all ages there's animals and clowns, pomp and pageantry. Sad-faced Emmett Kelly is in this mix as are many old-time Barnum & Bailey folks. Finally we have the adult stories of love and jealousy.

A bit overlong and by no means flawless, "Greatest Show" is still worth seeing if only for an impressive derailing sequence, which stands up well and is quite a spectacle. On a ten star scale, give this one 6 and a half."
Thrilling, Well-Cast
Samantha Kelley | USA | 04/12/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Cecil B. DeMille's epic film about the circus won him the Oscar for Best Picture and the nomination for best director. Here is all the sawdust and spectacle of the impromptu stage, an assembly of elephant trainers, clowns, trapeeze artists, and midgets all thriving on the thrill of the applause.

Hutton lobbied hard for the starring female role, and after secretly training as an acrobat for months, she auditioned for DeMille, who was intent on using a real flyer for the part. Hutton's skill landed her the part, and she considered it to be the greatest of her career. It is true she shines, but her energy is much more subdued than in her famous musical parts, so it is a different side of the talented actress.

Another actor who comes out on top is Jimmy Stewart, who spends the entire film in clown makeup. His story is like that of Lon Chaney's clown in The Unknown, a criminal hiding under the big top, unable to fully express his love for the beautiful woman who loves him only as a friend. It is the most sentimental part of the plot, and very memorable.

Charleton Heston is vital in the role of the boss of the show, a steadfast character in the midst of chaos. Also starring are Cornel Wilde, Dorothy Lamour, and Gloria DeHaven."
The Greatest Show is a great show
Christopher Schwinger | Kansas | 06/19/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As film historian Leonard Maltin said, "Like most of DeMille's movies, this may not be art, but it's hugely enjoyable." It doesn't have the depth of themes and symbols, or nuances in cinematography and lighting, that are essential for REALLY HIGH QUALITY movies, but it sure is fun to watch the circus on the movie, and for Indiana Jones buffs, it's enjoyable to see where his persona and outfit came from. The climax with the circus train crash is riveting, and though I'd say the character development is rather shallow, the characters do change and learn to work together, and the interplay between Charlton Heston and the other characters is really funny sometimes! In addition, it is really funny to see Jimmy Stewart as a clown (named Buttons). The only plot element left unresolved concerns some of the details about Buttons. It's a movie that's more spectacle than plot, but in this case, it works very well. It should bring you enjoyment, especially if you watch it with others!"