Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Greatest Show On Earth

The Greatest Show On Earth, 1952
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Nominated for 5 Oscars, Won 2

Circus Manager Brad Braden has secured the Great Sebastian to join the Ringling Bros Circus, in order to make sure they can run a full season and continue to be profitable. Before this, they were only supposed to do a 10-week run instead of a 10 month one. But the Great Sebastian comes with strings attached. He's a notorious flirt, and extremely wealthy and famous. It also means Brad's girlfriend Holly, is knocked out of the center-ring trapeze, and Holly and Sebastian begin a dangerous one-upmanship duel (without nets and rings to boot), which threatens to bring the circus down.

The main complaint I had about this film was that it seems no one had ever heard of a montage scene. The movie is two and a half hours long, but could've easily been under 2 hours had many of the circus scenes been reduced to montages. We have many unnecessary circus act scenes that add nothing to the plot that are overlong and pointless. We have the long parades, in which we see the whole thing. We have hula dances who sing and do acrobatics, and we see the entire thing. None of these add anything to the plot (which doesn't really exist anyway).

Otherwise, I didn't mind this film. I mean, no, it was certainly not best picture. But I didn't mind it. It was overly dramatic with so much personal issues, many of them trivial and pathetic.

I had very low expectations of this film, thinking it would be some sort of general movie with not really any main characters or much of a story. I knew virtually nothing about the movie before going in. So I know a lot of people rag on this for being one of the worst films to win, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was alright and it wasn't crazy boring for being as long as it was. The first half of the film had my attention all the way through but about halfway was when it started to drag and you realized there wasn't much of a story. This could've been a lot more concise than it was (see above about montage scenes).

The acting was extremely mediocre. There was nothing overly special about the performances and probably most anyone could've played these roles. Some of the circus scenes were definitely well done, but as the movie wore on, you started to get tired of them. And it definitely is dated since circus's have advanced since then and are doing even more extreme things (maybe not as extreme as Holly and Sebastian, but you know).

Overall, the film was alright. As I said, first half was good, second half continued to just have no idea where it was going and tried very hard to make it look like there was a story. Holly's constant going back and forth between Brad and Sebastian was tiring and childish, and the side stories about Buttons the clown and Angel and Klaus were boring and over-dramatic (and distinctly soap-opera-ish).

While this wasn't necessarily a bad film, it was definitely not a deserving winner. It still boggles my mind that Singin' In The Rain wasn't even nominated this year, as it's pretty much my favourite movie ever and kind of deserves like all the awards, including Best Picture.

Acting- 6.5/10 
Directing- 7/10 
Screenplay- 6/10 
Visuals- 7.5/10 
Music- 7/10 
Emotional Connection- 5/10 
Entertainment- 6/10 
Rewatchability- 5/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 6/10 
Overall Package- 6/10       

Total: 60/100

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