"The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952) Though it's hard to believe, this cornball Cecil B. DeMille melodrama -- featuring a cast of thousands, including Jimmy Stewart, Betty Hutton, Dorothy Lamour, Cornel Wilde and Gloria Grahame -- took home the Oscar for best film. It beat such classics as "High Noon" and "The Quiet Man" and was a major turning point in Heston's young film career. DeMille selected him to be the circus film's ringleader -- Brad Braden, the granite-jawed, no-nonsense manager of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Heston gives a sturdy performance, and he more than holds his own with such veterans as Stewart, Lamour and Hutton.
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