The Greatest Show on Earth movie matched with circus grub

Starring Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde & Charlton Heston

Rating 2/10


– This story is fairly conventional. Circus manager, Brad (Heston) and trapeze artist, Holly  (Hutton) are in love. Then, dash and darn it, that love is threatened when trapeze bad boy ‘The Great Sebastian’ (Wilde) appears. Trouble brews as Holly competes with Sebastian to see who deserves the spotlight in the centre ring. They fall in love, or do they or don’t they or who else falls in love with whoever else? It is confusing and shallow and I just didn’t care.
– The circus moves on and there’s more feats of bravery (or stupidity), parades, clowns and music. I swear, if there were no scenes of circus brilliance, the film would have been thirty minutes long. The film moves ssssloooowly through these repetitive scenes with dashes of dialogue thrown in for good measure and a spot of storytelling. Buttons the clown (James Stewart) is slightly intriguing with the makeup that never comes off and his mysterious past but that alone couldn’t save the film.

* A three-course-meal isn’t really a circus kinda thing so let’s embrace the spirit of the show with some awesome homemade junk food, just like you’re under the big top!

Snack 1: Caramel Popcorn

A classic circus treat would have to be popcorn which is usually served buttered and hot but where’s the fun in that? Anyone can pop some kernels in a pan and add butter. Make your circus popcorn a bit special with this naughty but yummy  Easy Caramel Popcorn recipe from Where Women Cook.

Snack 2: Warm pretzels

Dig one hand into the bag of your caramel popcorn and your other into a pack of your very own 30-minute Homemade Soft Pretzels from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Salty and delicious! Yum!!!!


Firstly, I do not particularly like circuses so I start this review with a slight bias. It’s not that I can’t appreciate the show but  to me it is all sparkle and way too much animal cruelty. A lot like this film.

But I know heaps of grace is required when watching retro films. You know there will be more sexism, racism and political incorrectness seeping out. This movie is full of them; from mocking the obese and the minature to glorifying womanising men. This forms the foundation of this hollow film.

The only saviours of this film were the costumes, the crash scene and some of the trapeze. But really the film was overloaded in circus nuttery and moved at a snail’s pace for no other obvious reason except to show off how darn clever those circus folk were.

Heston was Heston and Hutton was disgraceful as ditzy Holly without a substantial bone in her body. She flitted between men like she was changing her shoes… quite annoying and really, who would put up with such behaviour?

An Oscar winner? Seriously? Cecil B., surely you could have done better! Having said all that, check it out, it is a spectacle and if you like the circus, you may just like this film.

Snack 3: Hot Dogs

For a kind of a main meal (something a bit more substantial anyway) try these amazing Bacon-wrapped Hot Dogs with Avocado, Tomato, Onion, Mayonnaise, and Potato Chips recipe from Serious Eats.

Snack 4: Pink lemonade

It’s not strictly a snack but it would go splendidly with a hot dog type thing, don’t you think? And they look so pretty! Here’s the recipe: Pink Lemonade Recipe (From Scratch) from Cakeboule.


Image: Cakeboule

The Greatest Show on Earth Trivia:

  • Budget – Around $4 000 000
  • All actors/actresses were expected by Cecil B. DeMille to master the circus tricks of the trade for their roles. Which was very scary for Wilde as he was desperately scared of heights and was playing a trapeze artist. Gulp!
  • You know you’ve got a famous director when all the stars want to make cameo appearances in his film. Including: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Diana Lynn, Mona Freeman, Hopalong Cassidy and Merrill Reese.
  • Heston was cast after waving to Cecil on a Paramount set. He was a relative unknown actor and this was the film to change that.
  • Hutton was cast when she sent DeMille a floral arrangement costing $1000 (is that bribery?). Cecil cast her on the condition that she lose weight on her hips! Growl to you Mr B!

Snack 5: Cotton Candy or Fairy Floss

Oh, yeah! Now we’re talkin’. What is a circus experience without Cotton Candy? Nothing, I tell you! So here is how to make your very own homemade Fairy Floss (as we call it in Australia)… I found this recipe on Handmade Charlotte.

Snack 6: Animal Crackers

You must finish off this awful movie and your imaginary circus with these cute-as-a-boot Homemade Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies from Best Friends For Frosting.

Do you love circuses or just the food?

More amazing film and food combos:

* From Here to Eternity film matched with a Hawaiian luau
* On the Waterfront film paired with Italian mobster food
Slumdog Millionaire movie paired with Indian cuisine