11 May 2005 | tamstrat
Joan's gone Berserk!!!!
This is a strange movie on a lot of different levels. The basic premise is Monica Rivers owns a traveling circus, and in the first few moments of the flick her high wire star is murdered (inexplicably by the tightwire snapping and then hanging him-unbelievable). This gruesome death increases business so Monica is needless to say not to upset her star has gone to the big tent in the sky. There are several other wildly amusing murders and no one in the circus is safe. Is Monica the murderer or is she just an innocent victim, next on the list? The one and only Joan Crawford wildly overacts as the circus owner Monica Rivers. She chews up the scenery as she torments the poor, frightened circus performers. She looks pretty great in her Ringmaster's Costume, even at 63 she had fantastic legs, but it is stomach churning to see her love scenes with the hunky Ty Hardin who was young enough to be her son for God's sake!!!! The idea that any man would pick the aging Monica over the young and beautiful Matilda (sluttily played to perfection by Diana Dors)is just too hard to fathom. Joan was just too old to pull this off, yet somehow we are to believe that she has so much allure she can get any man she wants.
The circus scenes go on WAAAAAAAAAAY too long, endless scenes of leaping poodles and llamas running, etc. They should have spent the time used on these pointless scenes developing the storyline more. There could have been a great movie here, but it never quite comes together. Poor Joan had been reduced in her later years to playing the "Grand Guignol" and she does a fair job of it, but the material is just too weak. The color of the film is vibrant, and there are some creepy moments of Monica being stalked as she walks through the circus late at night, but the ending is just too sudden and too abrupt. It left me wanting to know more of why the killer did what they did. There are some great campy scenes as well, 2 women catfighting, Joan making out with the young lover, etc., but overall I would say this movie is for die hard Joan Crawford fans only.