Polly of the Circus

In Oronta, her acrobatically-clad figure on every billboard is covered over meticulously with real bloomers of all sorts per local ordinance, she complains to the minister, nothing doing.

“Hey, Polly,” a burly spectator yells up at her, “where’s your pants?” It breaks her concentration and she misses the trapeze, no net.

The minister tends her back to health and marries her. His uncle the bishop shuns him, he can’t find work.

She returns to the circus and plans another fall in the grand finale (a triple), since divorce is not possible. Bishop and nephew arrive just in time to see the act successfully concluded.

Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times thought it made no sense, and certainly Clark Gable as the minister. This is known as Eastern sophistication, it is quite inscrutable.




The play, by a notable inventor of New York harmonies (like Morris Louis later), is situated between Dead End and The Time of Your Life. Santell negotiates it very ruggedly, on three piers: the clear-eyed abstraction of John Carradine’s opening performance, which is relayed by Burgess Meredith, the general solidity of a very capable corps of actors resistant to all blandishments, and some quite elaborate and elaborately-filmed sets.