The Greatest Show on Earth

The Greatest Show on Earth. Paramount Pictures 1952.

Before watching the movie:

Much like State Fair, I get the idea this is is a movie that’s more about taking the audience to an event than actually telling a story. In this case, bringing the circus to an audience that doesn’t have a circus in town right now. I thought this was a musical, but it doesn’t appear to be. It is a Cecil B. DeMille epic however, and it makes perfect sense to pair a circus with a director known for massive crowds and setpieces. I’m not really sure a story about a circus can really be an “epic” in any sense but the spectacle and runtime though.

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Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1959.
Ben-Hur. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1959.

Before watching the movie:

The Ten Commandments is an Easter tradition for many people. The connection seems tenuous to me, but there’s a thread there. I’ve already seen “Commandments”, so I won’t be reviewing it here, but it has me following another connection, that you can already guess at due to the title and the picture to the right.

In my mind, that film is much more strongly linked to Ben-Hur than to Easter, but on examination, it seems circumstantial. They’re epics, set in Middle-Eastern antiquity, informed by religious legend, starring Charlton Heston. It seems accidental, though possibly the success of one got the other made. While I don’t know of it being an Easter tradition like its cousin, if anything, this one should be more Easter-related, since it actually has a few scenes with Jesus.

On the other hand, its overall reputation is more like CHARIOTS CHARIOTS CHARIOTS.

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The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers

The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers. Este Films 1973/1974.

Before watching the movie:

A large-budget film with a star-studded cast and strict attention to period accuracy could go poorly in all sorts of ways. The actors could fight for attention to the detriment of the film, the visual appeal could be lost in gritty details or vice versa, and the effort put into the enormous practical concerns could stomp out any entertainment value of the film.

These worries are only enhanced by the subject material. I vaguely recall an adaptation of The Three Musketeers in that a young man wants to be a Musketeer, gets in a fight with some, and then they all have adventures together. Rather dull, especially if one isn’t into swashbuckling tales.

I recognize many names, but I can connect hardly any of them with anything I know. At least it’s sold as a comedy, but I don’t expect much out of a 70s film.

Usually, I avoid sequels, but this pair was intended to be a single film, so I am taking it as one.

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