Best Picture Winners Part 25 (of 87): The Greatest Show on Earth

Title: The Greatest Show on Earth
Year: 1952
Starring: Charlton Heston, Jimmy Stewart, Betty Hutton
Director: Cecil B. DeMille  
Runtime: 2 hrs 32 mins 

Is It Any Good?: No, no it isn’t. Clocking in and just over 2 and a half hours it feels like a giant ad for Ringling Brothers. Charlton Heston can’t use his thespian power to unbury this awful and drawn out farce. At over 2 and a half hours (barely) long a film with so much run time should have a lot more substance. Sadly it’s a facade of a film built on the premise that we as an audience just want flashy colors and circus music. None of the performances are particularly special and a few of them are even completely flat. There were other films that didn’t get a nomination including Viva Zapata, and the iconic Singin’ in the Rain. How that injustice occurred I’ll never know. Most of the flaws in the Bets Picture category stem from the film being the best of a year, and then it only being relevant for that year. Thus was the case in some of the winner of the 1940’s, but here this film isn’t even good for the 1950’s

Memorable Quote: Angel: Listen, sugar, the only way that you can keep me warm is to wrap me up in a marriage license.

Competition: Better then the winner. Ivanhoe is beautiful to look at piece of historical puff featuring Richard and Elizabeth Taylor, who both give good performances in a fantastic film. John Huston step out of his comfort zone with Moulin Rouge which is an unfamiliar set piece. In 1899 France is where this Zsa Zsa Gabor lead musical adventure for which Jose Ferrer would get another nomination after winning an Oscar the previous year. Another iconic director directed The Quiet Man. A rare departure for the director/actor combo of John Wayne and John Ford. This film based in the Irish countryside features a beautiful romance that is unafraid to bring the funny. And lastly the best film of 1952 High NoonGary Cooper gives a lesson in defiance and earned the Oscar in Fred Zinneman’s unbelievable and moody set piece that marries tension and unconvention beautifully.

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