Life is a Circus (1958)

Article #1240 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-6-2004
Posting Date: 1-3-2005
Directed by Val Guest
Featuring Bud Flanagan, Teddy Knox, Jimmy Nervo

When most of Joe Winter’s circus performers walk out, a handful of men try to singlehandedly keep the big top alive. Then they discover Aladdin’s lamp. Hilarity ensues.

You can tell this is a comedy right off the bat; the stars of this one are a group of men known as “The Crazy Gang”. You can also tell it’s a musical; the title song gets spotlighted about four times during the length of the movie. There’s also a chimp to spice things up; he helps to keep the humor from getting too lowbrow. Lionel Jeffries pops in as the genie and promptly steals the movie. I also recognized Joseph Tomelty, who appeared in DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS. Most of the schtick is frantic and desperate, but the occasional funny line comes through. Despite its obvious appeal to kids, I’d be cautious about springing it on to them unprepared; the genie is watching the dance of the seven veils inside of his lamp, and it doesn’t leave a whole lot to the viewers imagination. So this is what Val Guest does when he’s not directing movies based on stories by Nigel Kneale.

I miss Quatermass.

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