I remember being a child and watching Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) for the first time. Even then, I was drawn to the idea that a film about a circus can represent so many things – a sense of belonging, people constantly being on the move and on the run, faith, and illusion – but, at the same time, it was a disappointing introduction to circus films. It’s certainly not the one I would make my kids watch first. I’d probably start them off on Steve Miner’s Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (1991), though that’s more about a fair than a circus; but I digress. After Greatest Show ended, I didn’t feel much; I appreciated the spectacle, but not the people within it. It’s regarded as a great film by most people, but I don’t think so; not even a good film.
Good movies leave you with the sense that they were there, and they give you a pleasant feeling, no matter the content. Great movies, you can touch; that sense of remembrance is tangible, and when the movie is over, you want more. Water for Elephants is a great movie, and probably the best circus movie I’ve seen. Read More