|Cornel Wilde pitches the woo to Betty Hutton|
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH (1952). Producer/director: Cecil B. DeMille.
Late in The Greatest Show in Earth, star Betty Hutton (also star of the "craptastic" Betty Hutton Show), playing trapeze artist Holly, is shown doing acrobatics on a cross bar in a parade down Main Street. Or rather Hutton is superimposed over the parade, and you can actually see through her in an embarrassingly cheap process shot. That pretty much encapsulates this whole cheesy movie, which purports to be about circus life. What it actually is -- against a backdrop of Barnum and Bailey/Ringling Brothers circus -- is a tiresome soap opera wherein Holly is in love with manager Brad (Charlton Heston), rival trapeze artist Sebastian (Cornel Wilde) is in love with Holly, and Jimmy Stewart wears clown make up throughout because he's hiding a secret. Dorothy Lamour of Donovan's Reef sings a number or two and is sardonic, while Gloria Grahame, also carrying a torch for Heston, has a good scene trading minor barbs with Hutton. The acting in this isn't bad -- even Hutton is more palatable than usual -- but you may find the elephants far more impressive. Wilde swaggers around with an okay Italian accent and is effective. [Although Wilde is billed over Heston, the latter is featured on the DVD cover due to the vagaries of Hollywood fame.] There's a not-bad train crash at the climax. DeMille only directed one more movie, The Ten Commandments, four years later.
Verdict: Okay, but Berserk is more fun. **1/2.