Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Greatest Show on Earth
The Greatest Show on Earth is the slogan for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. It is also the title of a 1952 film set in that circus. The film was produced, directed, and even narrated by Cecil B. DeMille.
The film stars Betty Hutton and Cornel Wilde as trapeze artists competing for the center ring, and Charlton Heston as the circus manager running the show. The three are also involved in a romantic triangle. Other subplots involve performers played by Dorothy Lamour and Gloria Grahame, and a clown who never removes his makeup, played by Jimmy Stewart. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby get cameo roles as circus spectators.
Behind-the-scene melodrama is interweaved with almost documentary-style scenes of realistic circus performances in lavish costumes (by Edith Head and others), and towards the end, a spectacular scene involving the two trains that carry the circus from town to town.
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