Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Anne Baxter and George Nader
CARNIVAL STORY (1954). Director: Kurt Neumann.

"If you were starving to death, howling for food, I wouldn't throw you a rotten bone."

In this arresting and amusing melodrama, a female pickpocket named "Willie" (Anne Baxter) joins up with an American circus traveling in Germany. She falls hard for her first benefactor, Joe Hammond (Steve Cochran), but winds up doing a high-diving act with Frank Collini (Lyle Bettger). The third man in her life is photographer Bill Vines (George Nader), not to mention the circus owner Charley (Jay C. Flippen) and the mute strong man Groppo (Adi Berber). While hardly a filmic masterpiece, Carnival Story is very entertaining and Baxter gives a riveting performance, be it great acting or not. The supporting cast is also quite good, and there's a nice, evocative score by Willy Schmidt Gentner. Part Italian opera, part E.C. horror story, part masochistic romance, the movie is a lot of fun. Neumann also directed Kronos and Mohawk.

Verdict: Anne chews up the scenery, the dialogue, and everything else -- good for her! ***.

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