One of the final productions ever seen in the old N.Y. Hippodrome, Jumbo was a dull book musical of the 1935 season, with a curious mid-Depression tie-in with Texaco Gas. The showmanship of Metro has turned the combo musical and circus into a great film entertainment.

One of the final productions ever seen in the old N.Y. Hippodrome, Jumbo was a dull book musical of the 1935 season, with a curious mid-Depression tie-in with Texaco Gas. The showmanship of Metro has turned the combo musical and circus into a great film entertainment.

Much of the Rodgers and Hart score for the 1935 legit version has been retained. ‘Little Girl Blue’, ‘My Romance’, and ‘Most Beautiful Girl in the World’ are given fullscale production. ‘This Can’t Be Love’, from Rodgers and Hart’s 1938 Boys From Syracuse and ‘Why Can’t I?’ from their 1929 Spring Is Here, have been added.

Jimmy Durante is the circus-owner, with Doris Day as his daughter, and Martha Raye as his 14-year-awaiting fiancee. Durante plays the role as Durante.

Stephen Boyd, handsome, virile, excellent within the limits of his role, has star billing but his part is strictly in support of his leading lady. It’s doubtful that singing is his own, but he handles his musical sequences well.

Sidney Sheldon’s screenplay (he receives full credit although report has it that several scripters have had a go at it) retains only the basic circus-boy-meets-circus-girl format of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s original book, with the ending the most important switch. Instead of the originally-conceived merger of the two circuses then the wedding of the boy and girl, Dean Jagger’s villainy drives Boyd into leaving, with Jumbo rejoining Day, Durante and Martha Raye.

1962: Nomination: Best Adapted Music Score

Jumbo

Production

M-G-M/Euterpe-Arwin. Director Charles Walters; Producer Joe Pasternak, Martin Melcher; Screenplay Sidney Sheldon; Camera William H. Daniels; Editor Richard W. Farrell; Music George Stoll (sup.); Art Director George W. Davis, Preston Ames

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1962. Running time: 123 MIN.

With

Doris Day Stephen Boyd Jimmy Durante Martha Raye Dean Jagger Joseph Waring
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