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Alan Tully

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This release has filled a big Technicolored gap in the Cecil B DeMille filmography. With all the Kino (& European) releases, old Cecil is doing very well on Blu-ray (I hope Europe gets a release of Four Frightened People).
 
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roxy1927

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I should amend that to say it's a takeoff on disaster movie musicals. One of those pre-code talkies that throws in everything including a ballet salute to electricity. It takes a little while to get moving but when it does it is truly over the top. Who knew DeMille had a sense of humor?
 

RolandL

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I finally watched "The Greatest Show on Earth" Blu-ray and I agree with RAH that it looked great. I don't agree with this movie winning the Best Picture Oscar, but I always enjoyed it since I first watched it as a kid back in the early 1960's. My hometown is Bridgeport, CT so the circus came there every year which I attended as kid. P.T. Barnum was a long-time resident and former mayor of Bridgeport and Tom Thumb was born and died there. There are statutes of them along with the Barnum museum.
Hey Robert, I didn't know you lived in Bridgeport, CT. I lived in East Hartford, West Hartford, Newington and Cromwell, CT before moving to Florida. Hartford, CT is where they had the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus fire in 7/6/44 that killed 167 people - http://www.circusfire1944.com/ . I thought that was the last tent performance because of the fire but it wasn't until 7/16/56 - https://www.circusesandsideshows.com/circuses/ringlingbrosbbcircus.html. There is also a Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, FL - https://www.ringling.org/circus-museum. I wished I had gone to the Barnum museum - https://barnum-museum.org/ before I left CT.
 
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jayembee

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How did this film win Best Picture? More Academy members voted for it than any of the other contenders, that's how.

That concept seems to be lost on most people these days. Perhaps because of the annual worldwide TV broadcasts, the Oscars have taken on the appearance of being of Divine origin, and given to the masses carved in stone. But they are really just the opinions of mere mortals who happen to work in the entertainment industry, but still have all of the beliefs and biases of any other group of people.
 

mskaye

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I doubt “Lifetime Achievement” was on the voters’ mind that year, considering they also gave John Ford his record breaking 4th directing Oscar.
It’s more likely that the independently produced High Noon and Quiet Man split votes so a big studio like Paramount was able to use its clout and resources to campaign more effectively.
If they had ranked voting back then as they do today, there probably would have been another winner.
The Quiet Man, High Noon and Viva Zapata! are three film that stand the test of time as art, entertainment and examples of the medium at its finest. I'll take VZ! with its flaws for how profoundly beautiful and poetic it is over the other two films. It's less dated and a huge influence on Peckinpah etc. High Noon has its moments of terse beauty. The Quiet Man is not the deepest Ford film but it never fails to make me smile and make my heart melt with its visual beauty. I know why DeMille is historically famous but I think there's a reason that Billy Wilder used him as a representative of film past in Sunset Boulevard.
 
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TonyD

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I was really hoping the digital version would have jumped to 4K by now.
 

filmnoirguy

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Gee, Brad, it's not as bad as all that. Some contemporary reviews really liked it.

Mr. DeMille's 1952, 152 minute circus extravaganza, The Greatest Show on Earth finally arrives from Paramount, as one of the hold-out Best Pictures to hit Blu-ray as spine number 16.

It just doesn't stand that "test of time" everyone talks about.

Derived from a scan of the original negative(s), it looks just fine, Brad.

Peopled with actual circus performers, with a handful of SAG players thrown in for good measure, it comes of as being what it was back in 1952, a quasi-professional production, directed with all the verve that Cecil DeMille could throw at it.

As noted, people have been requesting this one for ages, and now they have it...

Fans of the circus should love it. I'm one of those who can still not figure out how it won Best Picture.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

RAH
The best explanation I've heard is that The Quiet Man and High Noon cancelled each other out opening the door for TGSOE to win Best Picture. John Ford won Best Director for TQM and back in the day the 2 awards usually went hand in hand. Although not so in 1951 and 1956. Director George Stevens won both years, but his pictures didn't.
 
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roxy1927

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I have written this before and I'll write it again. I could never watch it on TV. Just slow and heavy. But for some arcane reason I decided to bite the bullet and see it at the Regency. There had to be something to it right? This is going to be a long one.

The print was beautiful and I found it absolutely sensational. What a delightful surprise. A very big lavish and fun film with an unexpected whopper of an ending worth seeing on a big screen. No! No! I can't believe this is happening!

I guess DeMille was thinking I'm going to outdo Zoo in Budapest.
 

SD_Brian

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The best explanation I've heard is that The Quiet Man and High Noon cancelled each other out opening the door for TGSOE to win Best Picture. John Ford won Best Director for TQM and back in the day the 2 awards usually went hand in hand. Although not so in 1951 and 1956. Director George Stevens won both years, but his pictures didn't.
One other possibility is that, because 1952 was the height of McCarthyism, voters went the "safe" route and voted for the movie directed by Cecil "We should all sign Loyalty Oaths" DeMille, rather than bringing more heat upon itself by supporting High Noon, whose screenwriter had already been blacklisted, and which John Wayne later called, "the most un-American thing I've ever seen in my whole life."
 

Jack P

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Or maybe.....politics had nothing to do with it and "Greatest Show On Earth" was given recognition for being an impressive spectacle film that long-term preserved what is now a vanished piece of Americana (the circus under canvas).

I think the Academy's real mistake was the previous year with "An American In Paris" which at its core is a story of a stalker interrupted by some spectacular dance numbers.
 

roxy1927

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Well it's the story of a stalker the way the greatest love songs are about unhealthy obsessions.
 

Robert Crawford

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I think the Academy's real mistake was the previous year with "An American In Paris" which at its core is a story of a stalker interrupted by some spectacular dance numbers.
Frankly, both Best Picture winners from those two years had about six other movies in their respective years, that I would consider superior movies to "An American in Paris" and "The Greatest Show on Earth". Of course, over the years, there are several other BP winners you can say the same thing about.
 

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