Movie Mirrors Index

Polly of the Circus

(1932 b 70')

En: 5 Ed: 5

A pretty trapeze artist falls in love with a minister, but the scandal causes him to lose his vocation.

From a train Polly (Marion Davies) sees circus posters of her figure covered. She complains to Rev. John Hartley (Clark Gable), but he says it was not him but a local law. In the circus show someone yells at her, and Polly falls to the ground. John says to take her to his house. The doctor says she cannot be moved for three weeks. John brings her romance magazines, but she reads the Bible. After two months Downey (Raymond Hatton) tells Polly to get out of the wheelchair. Polly asks John to help her walk and puts his arms around her.

Polly greets John as he comes home and serves his dinner. They are alone in the house; but she is leaving in the morning. Polly tells John she enjoyed being there and quotes Ruth. They embrace, and Downey sees John carry her downstairs. Downey accuses Polly and grabs her. John tells Downey to get out of the house. In the morning John goes to meet his uncle, Bishop James Northcott (C. Aubrey Smith). Polly attends church, but Downey says that she was in John's bedroom. During the prayer Polly walks out. James asks Polly to go away and says she is unsuited to be a minister's wife. James warns John he will be removed; but John applies for another position. John is rejected because of the scandal. Polly shows John a house for $100 a month; but he says he didn't get the job.

Polly cooks in an apartment, and John says he got a job selling Bibles for $28 a week. Polly asks if she can go back to the circus to earn money; but he says no. When he mentions a religious job, she gets angry. Polly finds him gone and follows him to a church. Polly calls on James and says that John is unhappy. She says she loves him enough to give him up; but James says divorce will not help in the church. Polly meets Beef (David Landau) and tells John that she is going back to the circus, letting him think there is another man. She hopes he will get a church, but he goes out without kissing her.

Polly tells Beef that she won't go on with a net. James calls on John and learns that Polly left. James tells John that Polly loves him. They rush to the circus as Polly flies on the trapeze. Eric (Guinn Williams) says to cancel the triple, but Polly objects. John and James rush in and wave to Polly, who makes the triple. In the final scene James says okay as John and Polly kiss.

Two different life-styles conflict in this romantic drama that is deepened by the economic difficulty of finding a good job. Ironically the religion that is supposed to be loving and forgiving is in this case intolerant and mean.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index