Emanating from the curious sub-genre of The Circus Film, Red Wagon is a punchy and highly watchable adaptation of the 1930 novel by Lady Eleanor Smith. Creator of only a handful of books, Smith's literary touchstones were historical romances and gypsy tales, so it will come as no surprise that the plot centres around a love triangle between a pureblood circus owner, his feisty female lion tamer and a slinky, light-fingered gypsy girl.
Charles Bickford - a decade later Oscar-nominated three times for Best Supporting Actor - growls his way through the film as Joe Prince, an orphan who runs away from his horrible foster parents to join a circus, which he eventually ends up owning. Silent era-star Greta Nissen rises to the challenge in some frankly dangerous scenes as Sheba the lion-tamer but she's unequivocally pouted off the screen by Latino siren Racquel Torres as the minxy gypsy Zara - she can't act for toffee but her performance is undeniably fun. Eponymous boy-next-door and '30s teenage heartthrob Jimmy Hanley makes his debut appearance as the young Joe Prince in a case of life imitating art - his job prior to this was, indeed, working in a circus.
Directed by Austrian émigré Paul L. Stein, Red Wagon features the screen debut of the sixteen-year-old Jimmy Hanley, the Rank Organisation star who would become British cinemagoers’ favourite ‘boy next door’, with American character actor Charles Bickford, silent-era star Greta Nissen, and Hanley’s future Huggetts co-star Amy Veness.
Adapted from Lady Eleanor Smith’s novel, this 1934 feature tells the story of Joe Prince, an orphan child of circus people who, after many struggles, achieves his life-long ambition of owning a circus. Red Wagon is presented here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements.
- Paul L. Stein
- Amy Veness
- The British Film
- Number of Discs
- 1.33:1 / Black and White
- Mono / English
- 2 / PAL
- 90 mins approx