The Greatest Show on Earth: 1952 Best Picture

There were a lot of surprises in the 1950s and one of them was when “The Greatest Show on Earth” won Best Picture at the 25th Academy Awards. Starring Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde and Charlton Heston, the film was nominated for 5 awards and won Best Picture and Best Writing in a Motion Picture. None of the categories it lost in were for acting.

“High Noon”, “Moulin Rouge” and “The Quiet Man” received 7 nominations each with “High Noon” being the favorite to win Best Picture.

“High Noon” won 4: Best Actor (Gary Cooper), Best Original Song, Best Film Editing, and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture

“Moulin Rouge” won Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color and Best Costume Design, Color.

“The Quiet Man” snagged Best Cinematography, Color and Best Director (John Ford). “Ivanhoe” was also nominated for Best Picture and two other awards. It didn’t win any.

The Best Actress Oscar went to Shirley Booth for her performance in “Come Back, Little Sheba”. Shirley was the last actress born in the 19th century to win a Best Actress Oscar. Very fitting, a year after Bogart was the last male. Shirley made her Broadway debut opposite Bogart in “Hell’s Bells” in 1925.

Anthony Quinn won Best Supporting Actor for “Viva Zapata!” and Gloria Grahame won Best Supporting Actress for “The Bad and the Beautiful.”

“Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” were two highly successful box office hits made in 1952 that only received 2 Oscar nominations each but didn’t win anything. The former is now recognized as the greatest musical of all time. The latter is now in the public domain and can be seen in its entirety on youtube.

Here are some Jeopardy! clues on the Best Picture of 1952:
BEST PICTURE LETTER DROP $2000: When a 1952 Cecil B. DeMille circus film loses a letter, there aren’t enough awards to give the pig
CLASSIC FILMS $2000: A barker ends this 1952 film with “…you can shake the sawdust off your feet but you can’t shake it out of your heart…”
OSCAR WINNERS OF YORE $1200: Jimmy Stewart as Buttons the Clown upstages Charlton Heston in this 3-ring affair from 1952
CIRCUS CIRCUS $500: This 1952 Cecil B. DeMille production was the “Greatest” of circus movies
SEND IN THE CLOWNS $800: In Cecil B. Demille’s “The Greatest Show on Earth”, he plays Buttons, a clown who was once a surgeon

More 1952 movie clues:
MOVIE MUSICALS $1200: Donald O’Connor “made ’em laugh” in one of this 1952 movie’s most famous numbers
THANKS FOR THE MEMOIRS $100: This star of the 1952 movie “Million Dollar Mermaid” called her 1999 memoir “The Million Dollar Mermaid”
RAINY DAY FUN $200: If you plan to rent a movie, we suggest this 1952 Gene Kelly musical
MARLON BRANDO FILMS $1000: In this 1952 movie bio, Brando was a Mexican revolutionary & Anthony Quinn was his brother Eufemio
MOVIE MUSICALS $200: Gene Kelly was sick with fever when he did his title number in this 1952 film; mom must not have been there to warn him to stay dry
20th CENTURY FOX HISTORY $2000: In this 1952 film assassins gun down the title Mexican revolutionary but miss his horse
BEST ACTOR OSCAR WINNERS $800: 1952: As Marshal Will Kane
THAT’S ENTERTRAINMENT $400: “The noonday train will bring Frank Miller” at 12 sharp in this 1952 film; look out, Gary!
ON THE “Q…T” $800: According to the title of a 1952 John Ford film, John Wayne’s character was this type of “Man”
LEONARD MALTIN’S FAVORITE FILMS $1000: (Leonard Maltin reads the clue.) Debbie Reynolds was a teenager when she tapped up a storm in this 1952 film, perhaps the best movie musical ever made
ROLE $200: Danny Kaye sang about “Wonderful Copenhagen” when he played this role on film in 1952
MOVIE MANIA $800: 1952’s “Bwana Devil” was the first film released in this process & pitted man-eating lions vs. unlucky railway builders
ORSON WELLES $600: In 1952 Orson took on the Shakespearean film role of this Moor of Venice
FICTIONAL MOVIES $400: “The Dueling Cavalier” was the silent film being turned into a musical in this 1952 Gene Kelly favorite
OSCAR-WINNING ROLES $400: 1952: Marshal Will Kane
POP CULTURE $200: Radio producer Arch Oboler pioneered this film gimmick for 1952’s “Bwana Devil”
CHARLIE CHAPLIN $600: Nigel Bruce of Dr. Watson fame played an impresario in this “glowing” 1952 Chaplin film
SHAKESPEARE’S FILMS $200: During the long filming process of this 1952 movie, Orson Welles went through several different Desdemonas
BEFORE & AFTER MOVIE TITLES $400: This 1952 Gene Kelly film is on at 8 o’clock; it’s 102 minutes; Gene Kelly on at 8 o’clock; 102 minutes
JOHN WAYNE FILMS $1000: Maureen O’ Hara & her brother appeared in this 1952 film made in Ireland
’50s FILM FACTS $800: His children Michael, Josephine & Geraldine played street urchins in his 1952 film “Limelight”
ACTORS & THEIR ROLES $1000: The first film she starred in after her brief marriage to a prince was 1952’s “Affair In Trinidad”
THE MOVIES: This classic 1952 movie was based on the story “The Tin Star”
FILMS OF THE ’50s: The 2 “High” films in which Grace Kelly starred

List of Best Picture Oscars (50s-70s)

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1 Response

  1. VJ says:

    One of my favorite films from this year is “Carrie’ with Laurence Olivier and Jennifer Jones (based on the Dreiser novel, Sister Carrie). Olivier is married to such a harpy (Miriam Hopkins), that when he falls in love with Carrie (Jennifer Jones), he’ll do anything to have her. It did get two Oscar nominations in the black and white art and costume categories though did not win either.
    .