Cinerama Enhances Thrills in 'Circus World'
By Bob Halliday, Tribune Staff Writer
Salt Lake Tribune, 28 October 1964, page A11
The circus is a natural for the curved screen of Cinerama. Particularly for those who always wanted to leave their seats and join the action in the center ring.
"Circus World" premiered Wednesday night at the Villa Theatre as a benefit for CARE-MEDICO, under sponsorship of Maurice Warshaw, prominent Salt Lake businessman.
The Cinerama triple-lens closely follows the individual acts in the Big Top and carries the audience along with it to balance on the tight wire (and survive a few slips), to leap through the air on the trapeze, to outstare a quintet of snarling tigers and to dangle helplessly at the apex of the tent, surrounded by a ring of flames.
Circus action and atmosphere have been adroitly captured in the film, the European backgrounds lending a medieval old-world quaintness and a new dimension to the familiar American circus stereotype. And the acts themselves are refreshingly different, presenting peaks of excitement bordering the path of the dramatic plot, which winds through well-worn and slightly melodramatic territory to its traditional joyous ending.
John Wayne carries off the role of curcus owner with his typical dynamic style, appearing to best advantage in scenes that give him room to roam. Big John is a man of action type, operating best at a gallop. In this film he is unfortunately hamstrung with some sentimental scenes in which he appears more uncomfortable than emotional.
Claudia Cardinale is svelte, spirited and a capable performer as the circus child, abandoned by her mother (Rita Hayworth) and raised by Wayne To Wayne's constant bewilderment and protest, Claudia blossoms into maturity (which was abundantly evident all the time) and becomes a top notch aerialist.
Rita shows her professional skill in the role of an aerialist who runs away from the memories of personal tragedy and finally fights back to self respect and her former skill on the high rope. And John Smith overflows with youthful enthusiasm as Claudia's suitor and potential circus boss.
A stage coach robbery staged as one of the circus acts, the capsizing of a ship in the Barcelona harbor, and a tent fire carry a startling impact on the big screen.
All the color, sounds and thrills of the circus have been gathered together for an entertaining spectacle. Though the plot is a little musty, it is of the same vintage as the circus tradition itself and the combination is a satisfying nostalgic brew.
Mr. Warshaw, president, Grand Central Stores, was presented Wednesday night with a certificate of appreciation for his efforts in relief to needy persons throughout the world through CARE (Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere).