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The Big Circus


The Big Circus


Year: 1959

Director: Joseph M. Newman

US Premiere: 5 July 1959

Plot Summary

A circus owner, played by Victor Mature, sets about getting his circus out of financial problems, and the story revolves around all the crises that occur in the process.


Victor Mature - Henry Jasper 'Hank' Whirling
Red Buttons - Randy Sherman
Rhonda Fleming - Helen Harrison
Kathryn Grant - Jeannie Whirling
Vincent Price - Hans Hagenfeld
Peter Lorre - Skeeter
David Nelson - Tommy Gordon
Adele Mara - Maria 'Mama' Colino
Howard McNear - Mr. Lomax
Charles Watts - Jonathan Nelson
Steve Allen - Cameo appearance
Gilbert Roland - The aerialist, Zach Colino
George Cisar - Bill, a Reporter
Franklyn Farnum - Photographer
Sam Harris - Circus Stockholder
James Nolan - Police Lieutenant
Dick Rich - Circus Saboteur
Barry Seltzer - Small boy on steps of Bank
John Wald - Himself, Commentator at Niagara Falls
Geraldine Wall - Reporter
Eden Hartford - Showgirl
Fay Alexander - Stuntman for Gilbert Roland
Del Graham (The Flying Viennas) - Double for David Nelson
Nesdon Booth - uncredited

Circus Acts

The Flying Alexanders
The Ronnie Lewis Trio
Gene Mendez High Wire Act
Hugo Zacchini II "Human Cannonball"
Dick Walker's Lion Act
The Jungleland Elephants
Tex Carr and his Chimpanzees
Dick Berg's Movieland Seals
Babe the Elephant (owned by Gene Holter)
Herbie Weber Tightwire

Production Crew

Producer - Irwin Allen
Director - Joseph M. Newman
Screenplay - Irwin Allen, Charles Bennett, Irving Wallace
Story - Irwin Allen
Director of Photography - Winton Hoch, A.S.C.
Music Composed and Conducted by - Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter
Song "The Big Circus" by Sammy Fain, Francis Webster
Production Manager - Lowell J. Farrell
Art Director - Albert D'Agostino
Costume Designer - Paul Zastupnevich, C.D.G.
Choreographer - Vander Barbette
Production Illustrator - Maurice Zuberano
Construction Supervisor - Burt Dreyer
Film Editor - Adrienne Fazan, A.C.E.
Assistant Director - William McGarry
Script Supervisor - Irva Ross
Makeup - William Tuttle
Hairdressing - Sydney Guilaroff
Sound Effects Editors - Finn Ulback, Bert Schoenfeld
Technicolor Color Consultant - Morgan Padelford
Optical Effects - Robert R. Hoag
Set Decorator - Robert Priestley
Recording Supervisor - Franklin Milton
Sound - Conrad Kahn
Music Editor - Audray Granville
Technical Advisors - Jimmie Wood, Fay Alexander
Stunt adviser - Bob Yerkes
Stunt coordinator - Fred Carson


  • Filmed on the MGM lot in Culver City
  • John Wald was a radio announcer who occasionally appeared in movies.
  • Fay Alexander and Bob Yerkes and their wives (Rose and Dorothy) were the "Flying Alexanders" trapeze act.
  • Jimmie Wood, the technical director, was formerly a performer himself as well as a circus operator.

Alternative Titles

France: Le Cirque Fantastique
Germany: Die Welt der Sensationen
Italy: Il Grande Circo
Spain: El Gran Circo


The Big Circus DVD

The Big Circus DVD can be purchased at Amazon. The movie is also available to stream on Amazon Prime. (#ad)



Embed from Getty Images

We were very sad to learn the news that actress Rhonda Fleming passed away on 14th October 2020. Rhonda starred in Irwin Allen's The Big Circus in 1959 with Victor Mature and Vincent Price.


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