Despite the rather over-the-top moralising of the finale, which posits a dramatic comeuppance for Tracy, the ambitious and cynical showman who has built himself into a wealthy carnival- and ship-owner by exploiting and manipulating people, this is still a very enjoyable film. Partly for its bizarre, pre-Nightmare Alley Gothic vision of circus life, partly for Tracy's admirably tough performance, and partly for the spectacular insertion of the famous 'hell' sequence (later re-used in Ken Russell's Altered States). The allegory may be banal, the vision pure kitsch, but it's hard to deny the sheer fun of seeing so many scantily-clad extras cavorting wildly amid such architecturally extravagant sets.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Philip Klein, Robert Yost|
Henry B Walthall