JumbocoverGrade:  B-
Entire family:  Yes
1962, 123 min., Color
Not rated (would be G)
Warner Bros.
Aspect ratio:  2.40:1
Featured audio:  DTS-HD MA 5.1
Bonus features:  C-

In the early 1900s, when Billy Rose’s Jumbo is set, there were over 100 circuses operating in the U.S. But by 1962, the year this extravagant musical was released, there were only a relative handful of traveling circuses. That form of entertainment had one foot in the grave, so it’s probably a case of unfortunate timing that a romanticized and heavily nostalgic movie about the circus was made when the institution hadn’t been gone long enough for anyone to miss it.

Although it bombed at the box office, Jumbo now offers a wonderful look at the colorful circuses that provided the only entertainment for small towns all across America.  The entire first act of this 123-minute film is geared toward parades, rehearsals, and performances, so it’s a lot like going to the circus. The more you enjoy watching circus acts, the more you’ll enjoy this movie. But even people who aren’t fans of the circus will appreciate the colorful spectacle, the ornate and detailed circus wagons, the unique and inventive costumes, and the versatility of the circus troupe as they rise to every occasion.  More