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The Circus Clown

(1934 b 65')

En: 5 Ed: 4


A son leaves his father to join the circus and works his way up from the bottom to the trapeze, winning the love of a trapeze artist.

Hotel manager Chuck Howard (Joe E. Brown) won't allow a circus poster, but he is given two passes. His son Happy Howard (Joe E. Brown) practices acrobatics. Chuck finds Happy at the circus. Happy saves the boy Dickie (Ronnie Cosby) from being trampled by horses, and Alice Madison (Patricia Ellis) thanks him. The clown Moxley (John Sheehan) introduces Happy to female impersonator Jack (Don Dilliway). Happy hides in a crate and writes his father he got a job washing elephants. On the train Happy gets an invitation from Millie, and men trick him, scaring him away. Her boyfriend tells Babe (Dorothy Burgess) to make Ajax jealous of Happy, who outroars Leo the lion. Sheldon (Charlie C. Wilson) has Happy stand on his head and walks off. Happy tells Dickie of Peter Pan. Ajax (Harry Woods) throws knives and finds Happy with Babe, but Happy runs away. Sheldon makes Happy a target for Ajax's knives, and Happy runs off with his clothes ripped away. A monkey opens a dangerous lion's cage, and the lion licks Happy's bare feet. Happy thinks it is Leo but learns it is Dynamite. Happy runs into the cage and roars.

Alice asks Sheldon to give her brother Frank (Gordon Westcott) a job. Happy sees Alice kissing Frank and gives his flowers to Babe; but then he learns that Alice is not married and takes the flowers back from Babe to give them to Alice. Happy watches the acrobats in the show and joins their act, impressing Sheldon so much he offers Happy a contract. Happy tries to stop Alice's brother Frank from drinking. When Happy sees Alice, he drinks himself to save Frank. Happy gets drunk and learns that Jack is a man but pretends he doesn't know and slugs him. Sheldon sees Happy is drunk and fires him. Happy says good-bye to Dickie and sees the train pull away with Alice.

Happy fishes with his father Chuck and sees in a paper that Alice is performing in Chicago. Chuck tells him to go get her. Happy finds Dickie and asks Frank to help him; but Frank is drinking. Happy knocks out Frank and takes his place as Laffo the clown on the trapeze. Chuck is proud of his boy, and in the final scene Happy kisses Alice.

The comic talent of Joe E. Brown carries this farce that shows how someone with skill can rise to the performance and become a fine friend to a woman and her son while those with malicious motives get nowhere.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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