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The Greatest Show on Earth


This 1952 Cecil B. DeMille monster of a film must certainly rank as the worst movie EVER to win the Best Picture Academy Award. When one considers that HIGH NOON also came out that year, it borders on insanity.

DeMille throws everything at the screen here, with a very early Charlton Heston performance as Brad, the leader of the entire circus operation, Betty Hutton overacting wildly as trapeze artist Holly, who favors Brad but falls in love with arrogant center ring trapeze man The Great Sebastian (Cornel Wilde), Jimmy Stewart as Buttons the Clown, who never takes off his makeup because he is really a doctor who killed his wife when she was dying of cancer.....you get the idea.

It's not just over the top, it's over the BIG TOP. The acting is so overplayed it's like a silent movie, every dramatic point is hammered home, the screenplay is horrible and the narration is unintentionally pretty funny.

By the time the circus train crashes and the monkeys and lions got loose, I was hoping most of the actors would get eaten.

But alas, they just still wanted to put on a show.

If it's not the greatest show on earth, it certainly feels like the longest....

Heston and Stewart emerge pretty well with their performances, but oh man do the rest just overact forever.

Let's plop a D right in the middle of the center ring of this turkey.

This beat HIGH NOON....really?

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