Special Program: Analog Pleasure 2018

Circus World

Henry Hathaway
USA 1964
135 min

You don’t expect to find John Wayne in a circus. You don’t expect to see Wayne in Europe either. These are among the reasons that Henry Hathaway’s CIRCUS WORLD is such an unusual film. Its budget was relatively modest by Bronston standards – a paltry 9 million dollars. Not that director Hathaway is skimping. He still has armies of extras, plenty of horses too and even one or two elephants. The film also features a massive fire (a scene that reportedly went wrong and almost killed Wayne.) John Wayne plays Matt Masters, a circus owner/stage cowboy who takes his troupe to Europe in the early years of the 20th Century. He is heading across the Atlantic for both business and romantic reasons – to prop up a flagging business and to track down Lili Alfredo, the love of his life and mother of the beautiful young trapeze artist, Toni. Wayne’s role is intriguing and selfreflexive – he’s a showman who plays at being a cowboy for the circus audience. The screenplay was co-written by legendary ex- journalist, Ben Hecht (other credits: THE FRONT PAGE, SCARFACE, NOTORIOUS.) The combination of Claudia Cardinale, Rita Hayworth and Wayne in the same movie is an added incentive for checking out a film that will look more sumptuous projected in 70mm than it ever did on its TV reruns. (Geofrey Macnab)

  • John Wayne - Matt Masters
  • Claudia Cardinale - Toni Alfredo
  • Rita Hayworth - Lili Alfredo
  • Lloyd Nolan - Cap Carson
  • James Edward Grant
  • Julian Halevy
  • Ben Hecht
  • Jack Hildyard
  • Dorothy Spencer
  • Dimitri Tiomkin
Samuel Bronston Productions
Screenbound Pictures
70 mm
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