Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Cast: Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston
Release Date: March 30, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
Newly restored from a 4K film transfer of the original negative, Cecil B. DeMille’s grand spectacle THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH makes its Blu-ray debut. This two-time Academy Award winner, including BEST PICTURE, captures the thrills, chills and exhilaration of the Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey Circus with an all-star cast that includes Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, Dorothy Lamour, Gloria Grahame, James Stewart and Lyle Bettger. This essential movie of the Golden Age of Hollywood packs action, romance, laughs and treachery into an epic only DeMille could create, resulting in one of 1952’s biggest hits.
Please Note: Paramount Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
You can also check out our reviews for the other releases in the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line by clicking on each title below!
From notable filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, the 1952 Academy Award Winner ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ takes you inside one of the biggest circus attractions to ever exist. The film follows a collection of individuals within the Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey Circus as they try to keep the show in its prime form while struggling to keep the road tour moving along amid lacking income and expenses. Featuring a noteworthy cast that includes Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, Dorothy Lamour, Gloria Grahame, and James Stewart, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ brings all of the fun, thrills and excitement of the legendary circus to film for an event that was unlike anything that had graced the silver screen prior.
The 1952 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, Cecil B. DeMille’s ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ comes home on Blu-ray for the first time as the sixteenth entry in Paramount Home Entertainment’s ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray lineup which showcases various memorable films from Paramount’s expansive vault over the decades, with each featuring new 4K remasters of the feature films, along with high definition audio, collectible artwork and some extras. ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ certainly makes a splendid addition to the lineup and even while much of the film is dated in its standards (not that this should surprise anyone in the slightest and it makes for a welcome reminder of how much things have changed since the 1950’s) it still delivers more than enough delightful excitement, romance, tension and just downright enjoyable circus-related fun to make it a notable film that’s well worth giving a shot even nearly 70 years after its initial release if you haven’t previously had the pleasure. It’s (at least seemingly intentional) goofy tone and often carefree attitude paired with some powerful moments sprinkled throughout allows it to serve as a lighthearted tale that you can just sit back and relax with and won’t require you to think too hard or handle too many strong emotions.
Overall, the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ brings the beloved 1952 classic home on Blu-ray for the first time ever sporting a gorgeous high definition video presentation that was newly restored from a 4K film transfer of the original negative, paired with a great high definition mono soundtrack and one new extra, plus of course the usual collectible packaging featured on all of the limited edition ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray releases. Fans of this Oscar winning film classic from filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille may be mildly disappointed by the lack of included supplements, although the outstanding quality offered for the Blu-ray debut of this 1950’s classic should be enough to still make this one more than worth a purchase for many. The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ is definitely recommended for dedicated fans of the film as well as anyone already considering a purchase.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation newly restored from a 4K film transfer of the original negative, and with the film’s original 1.37:1 4×3 Aspect Ratio. This newly restored video presentation looks spectacular and provides a clean, smooth and beautifully detailed presentation from start to finish with no unexpected issues or problems to be uncovered along the way, all while still retaining a healthy quantity of grain and other welcome artifacts representative of its source material. It holds up impressively even during the various fast moving, heavily populated and darkly lit moments throughout, never losing its way for a moment. Overall, this is a magnificent high definition video presentation that should truly thrill fans of this award winning film classic.
The Blu-ray release features a 2.0 channel dual-mono DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This mono soundtrack delivers in every way required of it and never suffers from any disappointing cuts or problems throughout. It perfectly balances the various audio elements and keeps the music, dialogue and effects along with everything else sounding clean, sharp and crisp at every turn, never causing any audio content to clash with another or resulting in any dialogue becoming distorted or rendered inaudible at any point. Overall, this is a solid 2.0 DTS-HD MA mono soundtrack that makes a great compliment to the onscreen fun and shouldn’t disappoint fans of this classic film in the slightest.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ arrives home sporting the standard collectible artwork featured on all of the Limited Edition ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray releases and includes a slipcase that opens up with a large version of the film’s original theatrical poster artwork and more photos on the interior of the actual Blu-ray case insert (a beauty shot of the artwork from the studio can be found below for a better idea of what to expect). The actual Blu-ray disc itself only includes one (new) extra: ‘Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on The Greatest Show on Earth’ (running approximately 8 minutes in length).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
Cecil B. DeMille’s ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray for the First Time, Newly Restored as part of the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line from Paramount Home Entertainment
*Screen-Connections.com is an Amazon Associate that earns from qualifying purchases