Polly of the Circus (1932)

72 mins | Drama | 27 February 1932

Director:

Alfred Santell

Cinematographer:

George Barnes

Editor:

George Hively

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to a pre-release news item in FD , Kathryn Crawford was in the cast, however, her participation in the completed film has not been determined. Reviewers were mixed in their appraisal of Clark Gable and Marion Davies' performances: some wrote that they were both miscast, while others praised them. The film was not financially successful, but Gable's next film, Red Dust , (see below) in which he played a more typical "rough" character, was one of his most successful. Polly of the Circus was also filmed in 1917 by the Goldwyn Pictures Corp. and starred Mae Marsh in the title role (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.3483). Another adaptation of the play was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre on 30 Nov 1936, directed by Frank Borzage, and starring Loretta Young, James Gleason and Lionel ... More Less

According to a pre-release news item in FD , Kathryn Crawford was in the cast, however, her participation in the completed film has not been determined. Reviewers were mixed in their appraisal of Clark Gable and Marion Davies' performances: some wrote that they were both miscast, while others praised them. The film was not financially successful, but Gable's next film, Red Dust , (see below) in which he played a more typical "rough" character, was one of his most successful. Polly of the Circus was also filmed in 1917 by the Goldwyn Pictures Corp. and starred Mae Marsh in the title role (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.3483). Another adaptation of the play was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre on 30 Nov 1936, directed by Frank Borzage, and starring Loretta Young, James Gleason and Lionel Barrymore. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
6 Jan 32
p. 6.
Film Daily
20 Mar 32
p. 10.
HF
5 Dec 31
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 32
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
26 Mar 32
p. 35.
New York Times
19 Mar 32
p. 11.
Variety
22 Mar 32
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Marion Davies Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Polly of the Circus by Margaret Mayo (New York, 23 Dec 1907).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 February 1932
Production Date:
began early December 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
27 February 1932
Copyright Number:
LP2912
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
72
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

When the circus goes to a staid Vermont town, aerialist Mme. Polly is insulted by posters showing lacy pants covering her bare legs. Mistakenly thinking that the town's minister, Rev. John Hartley, is responsible, she storms into his vestibule and confronts him. That evening, Polly is distracted by a heckler teasing her about her "pants" and falls to the ground. Because he lives close to the fairgrounds, John, who is in the audience, suggests that they take her there, where she recuperates for several weeks. Downey, John's manservant, antagonizes Polly, whom he regards as a bad woman, but John's kindness captivates her. One night, when Polly waits up for John, who has worked very late, they realize that they have fallen in love. When a drunken Downey sees them kiss, however, he becomes violent towards Polly. He is dismissed, but the next day, while John is giving a sermon, Downey accuses him of immoral behavior. Polly is too embarrased to remain in church and later offers to give John up, but he insists that they marry, over the objections of his uncle, Bishop James Northcott. John thinks that another congregation would be happy to take him, but after he and Polly marry, he finds that no congregation will take a minister involved in a scandal. Several months later, John has been reduced to selling bibles, while Polly tries to be a housewife. After an argument during which John refuses to take any of Polly's money or to allow her back in the circus, he leaves their apartment. Polly then follows John to a church and, realizing that his happiness lay with God, she pretends ... +


When the circus goes to a staid Vermont town, aerialist Mme. Polly is insulted by posters showing lacy pants covering her bare legs. Mistakenly thinking that the town's minister, Rev. John Hartley, is responsible, she storms into his vestibule and confronts him. That evening, Polly is distracted by a heckler teasing her about her "pants" and falls to the ground. Because he lives close to the fairgrounds, John, who is in the audience, suggests that they take her there, where she recuperates for several weeks. Downey, John's manservant, antagonizes Polly, whom he regards as a bad woman, but John's kindness captivates her. One night, when Polly waits up for John, who has worked very late, they realize that they have fallen in love. When a drunken Downey sees them kiss, however, he becomes violent towards Polly. He is dismissed, but the next day, while John is giving a sermon, Downey accuses him of immoral behavior. Polly is too embarrased to remain in church and later offers to give John up, but he insists that they marry, over the objections of his uncle, Bishop James Northcott. John thinks that another congregation would be happy to take him, but after he and Polly marry, he finds that no congregation will take a minister involved in a scandal. Several months later, John has been reduced to selling bibles, while Polly tries to be a housewife. After an argument during which John refuses to take any of Polly's money or to allow her back in the circus, he leaves their apartment. Polly then follows John to a church and, realizing that his happiness lay with God, she pretends that she no longer loves him. She also visits his uncle and asks for his help in getting John's congregation back. When John talks to the bishop, they realize that Polly is planning to kill herself so that John will not have to face the scandal of a divorce. They then rush to the circus and arrive just before Polly is about to deliberately miss a dangerous stunt. Polly and John embrace after she gets the "o.k." from his uncle. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Carnival/Circus


Subject

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

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