Call of the Circus (1929)

60 mins | Drama | 1929

Director:

Frank O'Connor

Writer:

Maxine Alton

Cinematographer:

Louis Physioc

Production Company:

Pickwick Pictures
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HISTORY

This marked the first and only release of Pickwick Pictures. An article in the 5 October 1929 Exhibitors Herald-World claimed that the independent production company was established by “experienced picture men” aiming to provide sound films for smaller theaters. Burr Enterprises, Inc., handled distribution on the states’ rights market. A 6 December 1929 release in Atwater, CA, was advertised in that day’s Atwater Signal. The following month, the film opened in New York City on 15 January 1930.
       A review in the 29 January 1930 Variety pointed out a flawed scene in which “The Boy” sings the theme song, that was “poorly synchronized” and made obvious use of a voice double. Negative reviews in the 18 January 1930 Motion Picture News and 19 January 1930 Film Daily criticized the film as overly sentimental. ...

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This marked the first and only release of Pickwick Pictures. An article in the 5 October 1929 Exhibitors Herald-World claimed that the independent production company was established by “experienced picture men” aiming to provide sound films for smaller theaters. Burr Enterprises, Inc., handled distribution on the states’ rights market. A 6 December 1929 release in Atwater, CA, was advertised in that day’s Atwater Signal. The following month, the film opened in New York City on 15 January 1930.
       A review in the 29 January 1930 Variety pointed out a flawed scene in which “The Boy” sings the theme song, that was “poorly synchronized” and made obvious use of a voice double. Negative reviews in the 18 January 1930 Motion Picture News and 19 January 1930 Film Daily criticized the film as overly sentimental.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Atwater Signal [Atwater, CA]
6 Dec 1929
p. 2
Exhibitors Herald-World
5 Oct 1929
p. 40
Exhibitors Herald-World
7 Dec 1929
p. 41
Film Daily
19 Jan 1930
p. 10
Film Daily
19 Mar 1930
p. 2
Motion Picture News
18 Jan 1930
p. 37
Standard Union [Brooklyn, NY]
18 Jan 1930
---
Variety
29 Jan 1930
p. 21, 62
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
MUSIC
Mus score
SOURCES
SONGS
"Life Is Just a Circus," words and music by Maxine Alton and Aubrey Stauffer.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Call of the Circus
Release Date:
1929
Premiere Information:
Atwater, CA, opening: 6 Dec 1929; New York opening: 15 Jan 1930
Production Date:

Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Photophone
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
60
Length(in feet):
5,466
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

A retired clown ("The Man") tells a girl whom he meets at a well that he is looking for a circus, and he goes on to recount the story of his life since leaving the circus: Things go smoothly for a time; the man marries a widow ("The Woman") who also left the circus. In time, her son ("The Boy") and his friend, "The Shadow," also leave the circus to come to live with the couple. But the call of the circus is too strong, and first The Shadow, then The Boy, return. Soon afterward, The Man rescues a young girl ("The Girl") from an accident and falls in love with her. Realizing what is happening, The Woman leaves after sending for The Boy, and, as she has anticipated, The Boy and The Girl fall in love. The Man finally recognizes his "love" as merely an attraction to The Girl's youth. He finds The Woman and makes amends, and they return to the circus ...

More Less

A retired clown ("The Man") tells a girl whom he meets at a well that he is looking for a circus, and he goes on to recount the story of his life since leaving the circus: Things go smoothly for a time; the man marries a widow ("The Woman") who also left the circus. In time, her son ("The Boy") and his friend, "The Shadow," also leave the circus to come to live with the couple. But the call of the circus is too strong, and first The Shadow, then The Boy, return. Soon afterward, The Man rescues a young girl ("The Girl") from an accident and falls in love with her. Realizing what is happening, The Woman leaves after sending for The Boy, and, as she has anticipated, The Boy and The Girl fall in love. The Man finally recognizes his "love" as merely an attraction to The Girl's youth. He finds The Woman and makes amends, and they return to the circus together.

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GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Domestic, Carnival/Circus


Subject
Subject (Major):

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.