The Circus Queen Murder | Chicago Reader

The Circus Queen Murder

Adolphe Menjou, playing New York?s police commissioner, throws a dart at a map to find a quiet spot for his vacation and then gets caught up in a series of murders at a circus. The big top, with its elephants, clowns, trapeze artists, and troupe of “cannibals,” provides much of the show, while Menjou appears characteristically dapper amid the commotion. The pacing is lively, and Roy William Neill's direction is often fluid, with graceful intercutting of different points of view, but ultimately this 1933 feature is little more than a lively programmer. Also showing is Suzan Pitt's experimental 1973 Jefferson Circus Songs, a visually lush but otherwise puzzling fantasy in which cutout animation and pixilated children produce, in her words, “ceremonies of the imagination.”

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