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Billy Rose’s Jumbo Blu-ray Review


“Billy Rose’s Jumbo” is a good old fashioned musical.

Based on the stage musical “Jumbo,” “Billy Rose’s Jumbo” is a lavish 1962 musical starring Doris Day and Jimmy Durante. The story revolves around the broke and in debt Wonder Circus whose star attraction is Jumbo the elephant. Character wise, the film follows Kitty and her father the Wonder Circus owner Pop as well as a mysterious drifter (Sam) who is looking for a job. The main stories concern a competing circus looking to buy the Wonder Circus and the blossoming romance between Kitty and Sam.

Upon watching “Billy Rose’s Jumbo,” I immediately wondered how “Jumbo” worked on stage given that this is such a big production full of animals (and people in embarrassing animal outfits), big sets, circus stunts and acts, big colorful musical numbers, a parade, a storm sequence, and so on. It all looks and feels very cinematic and I have to assume it translated better to film. Regardless of how the original show was, this movie certainly delivers the goods. Yes, story wise, there’s not much of note here. It’s all pretty predictable in how the story and the romance end up. The journey to get there, however, is pure fun.

I think many viewers would be content with just watching the charming Doris Day and the always entertaining Jimmy Durante doing their thing, but you also have so much more to take in here. As mentioned above, the movie is quite a visual spectacle and, as such, it’s easy to get wrapped up in it. The film really takes advantage of the widescreen format and uses every inch of the frame to give the film (and the circus) a real scope. Since this is a musical, there’s also noteworthy numbers by Rodgers and Hart such as “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” and “The Circus Is On Parade.”


Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. How does it look? Despite some obvious print flaws, this is a solid transfer that boasts striking colors.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? From the sounds of the circus to the musical numbers, this is a lively track.

Extras: * “Billy Rose’s Jumbo” trailer. * “Jerry and Jumbo”- A Tom and Jerry cartoon featuring a young elephant. * “Yours Sincerely”- A 19 ½ minute B&W romantic musical short film set at a hotel.

Overall Thoughts: Classic film lovers and musical fans would do well to check out this overlooked film. It’s worth your time.

August 14, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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