Moviesby A. Zelensky
1936 Russian Circus Movie Poster
A crowd from the movie 'Circus''Circus' is a Russian film based on the true story of American singer, Marion Dixon who, unforgivably for the time, had a child out of wedlock. To compound the incident even further in the public's mind, the child happened to be black. though she tried to keep the situation private, an agitated new beau decided to bring the issue to the attentin of the masses. Naturally, these less than open-minded folks ostracized and villified the singer. Fearing for her and her child's lives, Dixon wisely relocated to the Soviet Union, where she perceived that it mattered very little if you were Black or White--as long as you were Red. She joined the communist Party and found true love with a circus performer named--I kid you not--captain borneo. A fairly straightforward piece of ready-made anti-American propaganda, right? Well, the director, Grigori Alexander, wanted to create 'a real side-splitter' so he added in songs and acrobatics to the real-life story and filmed it as a musical comedy. So what was arived at was a Communist Manifesto sugarcoated with lively singing and circus action, the first of which is captured by Zelensky in his quirky promotional mural. One of the numbers from the film,'The Song of Motherhood' became so popular that it was used by a Moscow radio station to open the day's programming for the next six decades! As a result, this Comrade Stalin meets Busby Berkley spectacle scored the biggest hit under the Soviet regime up to that point. Interestingly, the film was never released in the United States, which is a little bizarre considering that during the 1930's, there was a well-run system for showing Russian films already in place in the States.