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

Thursday, January 19, 2017


JUMBO (aka Billy Roses' Jumbo/1962). Director: Charles Walters.

"Pop" Wonder (Jimmy Durante) is the owner of a circus that is in real financial trouble -- the only real asset is an elephant named Jumbo --  none of which is helped by Pop's gambling. Against her better wishes, his daughter, Kitty (Doris Day), hires a stranger, Sam (Stephen Boyd), who claims to have experience as a trapeze artist. But Sam may have a connection to a man who is trying to take over Pop's circus against his wishes. A developing romance between Kitty and Sam is threatened by these revelations. This circus-themed musical is based on a Rodgers and Hart stage play, and their songs are the highlights of the movie: 'This Can't Be Love;" "My Romance;" "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World;" etc. The elephant Jumbo's act is also quite amazing. Day [Pillow Talk] is perky and efficient if sexless, Boyd [Ben-Hur] is better than you'd expect in this kind of material, Durante [The Great Rupert] as lovable as ever, and Martha Raye as his love interest is ... cute. Her bit pretending to be a lioness is devoid of mirth, but her stint as a human cannonball is a bit funnier. The screenplay was by Sidney Sheldon, and Busby Berkeley was second unit director.

Verdict: Just when you think it's over, it goes on and on and on. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Wow, I have never gotten past the first ten minutes of this dull film, though I have tried several times over the decades. Had no idea it was based on a Rodgers and Hart musical...I did know it was a Billy Rose production (I always picture James Caan as Billy Rose, opposite Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice...)
Now I know it is not just me--this is NOT a good movie. Too bad, I like Doris and Stephen Boyd...

William said...

I admit that this gets a little tedious towards the end but I think it's hilarious that you couldn't even stand the first ten minutes, LOL!

Yes, I kept expecting James Caan to show up any minute and for Doris to have a cat fight with Barbra -- might have been more entertaining!