Watch Polly of the Circus
- 1 hr 9 min
Polly of the Circus is a romantic comedy-drama film released in 1932 which starred Marion Davies, Clark Gable, and C. Aubrey Smith. It is a story of Polly Fisher (Davies), a circus performer who falls in love with a young minister, Rev. John Hartley (Gable), after he saves her from a potentially life-threatening accident. The film explores the themes of social class, religious identity, and personal ambition through the characterizations of the two protagonists.
The opening sequence introduces the viewer to the chaotic and raucous world of the circus, complete with trapeze artists, clowns, and a menagerie of animals. In the midst of this frenzied activity, Polly performs her daring aerial stunts, accompanied by her drunken father (Smith), who serves as the clown of the circus. Despite the apparent dangers of her job, Polly is shown to be a confident and capable performer, earning the admiration and adulation of the audience. However, her life takes a dramatic turn when a stunt goes wrong and she is left suspended high above the crowd, in danger of falling to her death.
Enter Rev. Hartley, a mild-mannered, and uptight young man who is passing through town on his way to his new job as a clergyman. When he sees Polly in distress, he musters the courage to climb up to her and save her from certain death. This encounter sets in motion a series of events that will test their respective beliefs and values, as they struggle to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable differences in their backgrounds.
As the film progresses, we see Polly and Rev. Hartley getting to know each other, despite the disapproval of their peers and families. Polly's father, in particular, is fiercely protective of his daughter and resents the intrusion of the young minister into their lives. Meanwhile, Rev. Hartley's colleagues and superiors in the church view Polly's profession as immoral and ungodly, and warn him against associating with her.
Despite these obstacles, Polly and Hartley's relationship blossoms, as they discover common ground in their shared sense of compassion and kindness towards others. Polly's open-heartedness and generosity win over the skeptical townspeople, while Hartley's steadfastness and moral fortitude inspire Polly to think about her future beyond the circus. However, their newfound affection is put to the test when a devastating accident occurs during one of Polly's performances, threatening to derail their plans for the future.
The performances of the cast are of particular note, with Davies and Gable exhibiting undeniable chemistry on-screen. Davies' portrayal of Polly is notable for its sensitivity and nuance, as she imbues the character with a depth and complexity not often seen in female characters of the time. Gable, in turn, brings his signature charisma and charm to the role of the principled minister, showcasing his versatility as an actor.
Overall, Polly of the Circus is a well-crafted and engaging film that showcases the talents of its cast and crew. It offers a window into the societal and cultural norms of the time, highlighting the tensions and contradictions of a world in transition. While it may feel dated by today's standards, it remains a testament to the enduring power of love and human connection in the face of adversity.
Polly of the Circus is a 1932 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 9 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1.