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It's big, it's garish, it's loud, and most of all, it's wonderful. This is Cecil B. DeMille's superlative salute to the circus world, and all its glamour and flashy hoopla suits perfectly the director whose middle name was epic. An episodic soap opera set under the big top, the film is
almost like a documentary in its meticulous detailing of circus life. Charlton Heston plays the head of the sprawling ensemble and the entire cast is outstanding, particularly James Stewart as the clown hiding from his past. Since the early 1920s, DeMille had planned on producing a spectacular
circus film, but his biblical epics got in the way. Finally, in 1949, after Paramount paid Ringling Brothers $250,000 for the right to use the circus' name, equipment, and talent, DeMille began elaborate preparations. The film is authentic and awesome and earned an Oscar as Best Picture.