Movie Mirrors Index

Fixer Dugan

(1939 b 68')

En: 5 Ed: 4


Based on H. C. Potter's play, a circus fixer and a woman lion-tamer help an orphaned child and struggle to keep the lions.

At a circus Charlie Dugan (Lee Tracy) advises Mike not to short-change the poor women but only the suckers. Patricia O'Connell (Rita La Roy) warns Charlie she won't split billing with new lion-tamer Aggie Moreno (Peggy Shannon). Pat and Aggie quarrel. Pat walks the high wire blind-folded and falls. On the train Charlie takes a knife from Terry O'Connell (Virginia Wiedler). Circus owner A. J. Barvin (Bradley Page) tells Terry that her mother died. Terry collects nickels from kids and lets them in the tent but fights with a boy. Charlie breaks it up and tells Aggie he doesn't want to put Terry in an orphanage. Terry helps con customers, but the grifter is arrested. The sheriff starts to take Terry until Aggie says she is her mother. Aggie takes care of Terry, and Charlie thanks her. Aggie performs with lions. Frank Darlow (Vinton Hayworth) and Jake (Edward Gargan) come to take Aggie's lions. Terry hears and sneaks into the cage. Aggie protects Terry, who warns her of the two men. Frank says that Aggie sold him the lions. Charlie tells them to come back in three hours.

Across the state line Aggie explains to Charlie that she signed a paper for a $200 loan. Charlie gets Aggie to put Terry in the act. Charlie tells Frank his paper is not legal in Kansas. Frank goes, and a sheriff comes for Terry. Charlie tells Terry he will fix it. In court the judge commits Terry to a children's home. Rain makes the circus workers irritable. Charlie gets the circus to visit Terry's home. Terry tells Aggie she is eating three meals a day. Aggie tells Mrs. Fletcher (Edythe Elliott) that she wants Terry, but Mrs. Fletcher says no. Terry cries, and the circus goes back to Missouri; but they find Terry in a basket.

Aggie says that Terry must go back and calls. Charlie is ordered to give the lions to Frank. Charlie has Jane (Irene Franklin) type a bill of sale and a receipt and makes sure that Frank's truck stays stuck in the mud. Terry hides from Mrs. Fletcher. Charlie has Aggie and Frank sign the receipt with a carbon bill of sale. Smiley (William Edmunds) heard Aggie say she would rather see the lions free, and he releases one, causing panic. Smiley protects Terry and is mauled. Aggie uses a whip and backs the lion into a net. Terry gets help for Smiley. Charlie pays Frank the $200 for the lions and shows the bill of sale. Frank pulls a gun; but Terry helps Charlie take it away. Mrs. Fletcher informs Aggie that she can adopt Terry. In the final scene Charlie tells Terry that she is going to school.

This comedy portrays the risks and dangers of circus life.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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