Circus of Fear (1967) | The vintage Edgar Wallace mystery makes for a rainy afternoon treat

Circus of Fear dvd cover

ROLL UP! ROLL UP!
Following a bank robbery in central London, Scotland Yard Inspector Elliott (Leo Glenn) tracks down some of the stolen banknotes to a circus stationed near Windsor. When one of the crooks turns up dead, the mystery deepens and Elliott’s suspects include a hooded lion tamer (Christopher Lee), a blackmailing dwarf (Skip Martin), a jealous knife-thrower (Maurice Kaufmann), and a philandering showgirl (Margaret Lee). But with his superior (Cecil Parker) breathing down his neck and a killer stalking the suspects, Elliott has his work cut out for him in finding the stolen loot and the criminal mastermind behind it.

Circus of Fear (1967)

THE GEEK BIT
After making six episodes of The Edgar Wallace Mysteries for UK TV, director John Llewellyn Moxley (who would go on to helm everything from Kung Fu to Magnum PI and Murder She Wrote in the 1970s and 1980s), was hired by exploitation maestro Harry Alan Towers to lens this big-screen adaptation of Wallace’s novel, The Three Just Man, in a bid to compete with Berserk, the Joan Crawford shocker which was also released in the winter of 1967.

Christopher Lee in Circus of Fear (1967)

Starting off with an exciting bank robbery sequence staged around Tower Bridge, the film settles down into a standard whodunit littered with the usual red herrings (Klaus Kinski’s menacing Manfred being one of them). But thanks to the fine turns from the cast, that also includes future giallo screen queen Suzi Kendall, and Johnny Douglas’s catchy big band soundtrack that gives the film its distinctly 1960s British feel, Circus of Fear makes for an ideal rainy afternoon vintage treat to revisit. Not the greatest show on Earth, but a memorable one.

Circus of Fear (1967)

THE RELEASE
This re-mastered Network DVD release includes both the long and short versions in their as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio; alternative German ending (in black and white); UK and foreign trailers; image gallery and PDF material.

THE VERDICT
A might see, for Chris Lee completists and fans of 1960s British thrillers.

You find more great releases from Network Distributing on their The British Film Facebook page (click here), and on their official website (click here) and Twitter feed (click here).

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uCm0l3-MSc%5D
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About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on September 26, 2013, in Might See, Might-See, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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