At the Circus (1939)

87 mins | Comedy | 20 October 1939

Director:

Edward Buzzell

Writer:

Irving Brecher

Producer:

Mervyn LeRoy

Cinematographer:

Leonard Smith

Editor:

William Terhune

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this picture were The Marx Brothers at the Circus and Day at the Circus . News items in HR note that Mervyn LeRoy hired magician A. J. Cantu, circus performer Anna Merkel and former circus manager S. L. Cronin as technical aides. 130 circus performers from the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus appeared in the circus sequences of this ... More Less

The working titles of this picture were The Marx Brothers at the Circus and Day at the Circus . News items in HR note that Mervyn LeRoy hired magician A. J. Cantu, circus performer Anna Merkel and former circus manager S. L. Cronin as technical aides. 130 circus performers from the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus appeared in the circus sequences of this film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Oct 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 Nov 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 39
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
27 May 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
17 Nov 39
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Jul 39
p. 45.
Motion Picture Herald
21 Oct 39
p. 36.
New York Times
17 Nov 39
p. 17.
Variety
18 Oct 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Women's cost
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
Vocal and orch arr
Vocal and orch arr
Vocal and orch arr
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
Dance dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Florence Rice
SOURCES
SONGS
"Lydia the Tattooed Lady," "Two Blind Loves," "Step Up and Take a Bow" and "Swingali," words and music by E. Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Day at the Circus
The Marx Brothers at the Circus
Release Date:
20 October 1939
Production Date:
began 22 May 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
10 October 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9173
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
5616
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Having foresaken a life of luxury in the mansions of Newport for the sawdust of the Wilson Wonder Circus, Jeff Wilson is now in danger of losing his beloved bigtop unless he can pay the $10,000 that he owes his partner, John Carter. Believing that an attorney can solve any problem, Antonio, a circus employee, sends for his old friend, attorney J. Cheever Loophole. Meanwhile, Carter, who does not want to reliquish his share of the circus, conspires with the strongman, Goliath, to rob the unsuspecting Jeff. After Goliath steals the money, Antonio, Loophole and Antonio's friend Punchy search for incriminating evidence, but Antonio bungles the investigation. Hence, when Loophole discovers that Jeff has a rich aunt, Suzanah Dukesbury, living in Newport, he decides to extract the money from her. Arriving on the eve of Mrs. Dukesbury's social extravaganza, Loophole is mistaken by the grand dame as a representative of the distinguished French conductor, Jardinet, who is to play at the party. Taking advantage of the situation, Loophole wheedles a $10,000 fee from the wealthy widow and telephones Jeff to bring the circus to Newport for a performance. As Mrs. Dukesbury awaits the arrival of the prestigious symphony, she is appalled to hear not the strings of Beethoven but the calliope of the circus. Carter then attempts to sabotage the circus one more time, but fails, and the show goes ... +


Having foresaken a life of luxury in the mansions of Newport for the sawdust of the Wilson Wonder Circus, Jeff Wilson is now in danger of losing his beloved bigtop unless he can pay the $10,000 that he owes his partner, John Carter. Believing that an attorney can solve any problem, Antonio, a circus employee, sends for his old friend, attorney J. Cheever Loophole. Meanwhile, Carter, who does not want to reliquish his share of the circus, conspires with the strongman, Goliath, to rob the unsuspecting Jeff. After Goliath steals the money, Antonio, Loophole and Antonio's friend Punchy search for incriminating evidence, but Antonio bungles the investigation. Hence, when Loophole discovers that Jeff has a rich aunt, Suzanah Dukesbury, living in Newport, he decides to extract the money from her. Arriving on the eve of Mrs. Dukesbury's social extravaganza, Loophole is mistaken by the grand dame as a representative of the distinguished French conductor, Jardinet, who is to play at the party. Taking advantage of the situation, Loophole wheedles a $10,000 fee from the wealthy widow and telephones Jeff to bring the circus to Newport for a performance. As Mrs. Dukesbury awaits the arrival of the prestigious symphony, she is appalled to hear not the strings of Beethoven but the calliope of the circus. Carter then attempts to sabotage the circus one more time, but fails, and the show goes on. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Carnival/Circus, with songs


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.