Friday, February 06, 2009

JOE E. BROWN: The Circus Clown Trailer (1934)

Joe E. Brown plays a dual role in The Circus Clown, as would-be circus entertainer Happy Howard and his rustic old father. When dad, a former circus man himself, disapproves of Happy hitting the sawdust trail, the boy does so anyway, smitten by a beautiful female bareback rider. So na├»ve is our hero that he doesn't realize that the "girl" is actually female impersonator Jack (Don Dillaway), who strings Happy along just for laughs. 

Once this plotline is straightened out, Happy becomes the hero of the day by substituting for a drunken aerialist -- and there is no more proud or enthusiast spectator than Happy's happy dad. If Joe E. Brown looks genuinely frightened in his scene in the lion's cage, he should; the lion affectionately pawed Brown during one take, resulting in six stitches in the comedian's arm. 

More serious than most Brown vehicles, The Circus Clown is distinguished by the star's spectacular acrobatics (the real thing -- no doubles), and by some excellent split-screen work during the "father/son" scenes.

Joe E. Brown - Happy Howard / His Father
Patricia Ellis - Alice
Dorothy Burgess - Babe
William Demarest
Donald Dilloway - Jack
Gordon Westcott - Frank
Charles Wilson - Sheldon
Harry Woods - Ajax
John Sheehan - Moxley
Bobby Caldwell
Spencer Charters
Ernest Clark
Ronnie Cosbey - Dickie
William B. Davidson
Tom Dugan
Poodles Hanneford
Earl Hodgins
Lee Moran


24-HOUR-MAN said...

I don't know about the flying act scenes, but I'll guartantee he did the trampoline, he was the first person to do a triple somersault on one.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about famous film and theatre clowns such as Charlie Chaplin. But the UKs Prime Muppet Gordon McRuin Broone can surely be classed as a number one 'Economic Clown'.

Appologies to Clown Buffs for posting this on the website, I just could help myself for the opportunity.... hehehehehehe!

Victor Meldrew