Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Just about every John Wayne movie has been released on DVD now. However, there are still a few hidden gems that are pretty much forgotten by even John Wayne fans. Wayne's 1964 film Circus World is one of them. Circus World, also known as Samuel Bronston's Circus World, is a 1964 drama film made by the independent production company Samuel Bronston Productions and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

It was directed by Henry Hathaway and produced by Samuel Bronston, with Michal Waszynski as executive producer. The screenplay was by Ben Hecht, Julian Halevy and James Edward Grant, from a story by Philip Yordan and Nicholas Ray. The music score was by Dimitri Tiomkin and the cinematography by Jack Hildyard. The film was made in Super Technirama 70 and shown at some venues in Cinerama.

It starred John Wayne, Claudia Cardinale and Rita Hayworth with Lloyd Nolan, John Smith and Richard Conte.

The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Song for Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington (lyrics), while Rita Hayworth was nominated for the Best Actress award.

At the turn of the twentieth century, circus owner Matt Masters (John Wayne) takes his circus on a tour to Europe in search of his long-lost love, Lili Alfredo (Rita Hayworth). With him are Lili's daughter, Toni (Claudia Cardinale), whom she abandoned years earlier and whom he has raised as his own, and his faithful friend, Cap Carson (Lloyd Nolan). The circus is lost in a sinking ship, but Masters manages to salvage part of it and with the help of some European acts puts together a new show. He ultimately finds Lili and so mother and daughter are reunited.
-This was Wayne's last film before his lung cancer operation.

-It was speculated that at the time this film was made, Rita Hayworth may have already been suffering the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. She was often late and had trouble remembering her lines and it was reported she was often drunk and abusive to those on the set. John Wayne had previously looked forward to working with her, but it was said he came to despise her behavior.

-David Niven was originally cast as Cap Carson, but withdrew from the film.

-Frank Capra was originally going to direct, but quit during pre-production over disagreements with Wayne's favored screenwriter, James Edward Grant.

-The film has not been released on DVD in the United States. It was last reported to be owned my Miramax, and they advertised that they were releasing the movie in 2008, but no such release has happened.


  1. I love Tiomkin's rousing score for this picture, and unfortunately that's about all I recall of it because I haven't seen "Circus World" since I was a teenager!

  2. Wow, thanks for your quick comment. You must be snowed in too! I bought this movie for my stepdad when it came out on video. I should borrow it and transfer it to DVD. It is not a great film, but it is fun to watch.