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DORIS DAY & STEPHEN BOYD IN 'JUMBO' FEATURING MARTHA RAYE

Blu Ray for JUMBO Year: 1962
In the circus comedy/musical JUMBO the actors and actresses playing circus performers... especially the otherwise talented and versatile Martha Raye... are performing so close to the camera, there's no realistic way the parade crowd or the big tent show audience would be able to see what the hell they're doing. And while not as talented in this particular venue, a surprisingly subdued Jimmy Durante, as the circus director and head clown, is the Clyde Beatty of this picture i.e. the only leading character who does his own stunts, which aren't much. But this movie has hardly anything to do with the show since it's a romance...

No Elephant? RATING: ***
The mere presence of 1950's sweetheart Doris Day — who already proved herself opposite James Cagney in LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME and as the better (smarter) half of James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock's THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH — let's us know we're having a good time, even though cleft-chinned BEN HUR baddie Stephen Boyd cons his way into being the show's announcer, and winds up falling in love... They both do...

Doris Day, Martha Raye and Jimmy Durante
Utter predictability aside, the chemistry between the guy and the doll is worthwhile since they're initially repelled by each other for long enough so their eventual relationship means something: Even more than the giant elephant that Boyd's mogul dad, Dean Jagger, wants to hijack to make his show the best around...

Yet the best stuff occurs on the sidelines as Martha Raye bonds with Doris — the former Bob Hope co-starlet doing her signature blunt and honest thing — her lines aren't side-splitting but she's got genuine charisma, and provides someone other than the handsome stranger for the leading lady to play off. So, at the very least, you'll grin at the playful delight of JUMBO despite the hackneyed turnout wherein our conflicted male lead has to choose between bad and good.
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