Carnival Story

Carnival Story is a 1954 film directed by Kurt Neumann, produced by Frank King and Maurice King, starring Anne Baxter and Steve Cochran, and released by RKO Radio Pictures.

Carnival Story
Directed byKurt Neumann
Produced byFrank King
Maurice King
Written byMarcy Klauber
Charles Williams
Hans Jacoby
Kurt Neumann
Dalton Trumbo (uncredited)
Michael Wilson (uncredited)
StarringAnne Baxter
Steve Cochran
Lyle Bettger
Music byWilly Schmidt-Gentner
CinematographyErnest Haller
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures (US)
Distributors Corporation of America (German version Rummelplatz der Liebe)
Release date
  • April 16, 1954 (1954-04-16) (US)[1]
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million (US)[2]

Sometimes this film is credited as a 3D feature, although it wasn't filmed or exhibited in a three-dimensional process.[3] This idea in many sources may be based on a wrong note from Variety in 1953.[4] Neumann simultaneously directed a German language version Rummelplatz der Liebe (1954) with Bernhard Wicki, Eva Bartok, and Curd Jürgens.[5]

The melodrama set in a circus was filmed in Munich and Bavaria. The film was shot in Agfacolor with prints by Technicolor.


Grayson's traveling carnival comes to Munich with acts that include high-dive artist Frank Collini (Lyle Bettger) and silent strongman Groppo. A local girl named Willi (Anne Baxter) picks the pocket of Joe (Steve Cochran), who works for the carny, but she ends up being offered a job.

Joe makes romantic advances to Willi, who tries to resist him but can't. Collini asks if she would like to become a part of his act, which involves diving into a flaming tank of water from a great height. He also proposes marriage on Willi's first night as part of the show.

Magazine photographer Bill comes to take their picture as The Great Collinis' fame grows. Collini gives a beating to Joe after catching him with Willi, whereupon he plunges to his death after a rung on his high-dive ladder breaks.

Willi inherits $5,000. Joe spends the night with her; but, next morning, he is gone as is her money. She eventually gets Joe to confess that he sawed Collini's rung in two, deliberately causing his death. When Willi asserts her independence from Joe, he attacks her and tries to strangle her. Hearing her cries for help, strongman Groppo (Ady Berber) comes to Willi's rescue, He chases Joe who tries to escape on a Ferris wheel. Groppo climbs to the top of the wheel and throws Joe off, killing Joe; and Groppo is led away by the police.



The King Brothers later sued RKO for mismanaging the distribution and sale of the film, claiming $20,000 in damages.[6]


  1. "Carnival Story: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  2. 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1954', Variety Weekly, January 5, 1955
  3. "3dlist". 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
  4. "Zum Greifen nah". 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
  5. Maltin, Leonard, ed. (2007). Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide. New York: Signet. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-451-22186-5.
  6. FILM GROUP FILES SUIT OF $6,030,000: King Brothers Alleges Trust Violations in 3 Releases -- Doris Day in Musical By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 05 Nov 1958: 43
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