The Clown (1953 film)

The Clown is a 1953 American drama film starring Red Skelton with Jane Greer and Tim Considine, and directed by Robert Z. Leonard. The story is derived from The Champ (1931).

The Clown
theatrical film poste
Directed byRobert Z. Leonard
Produced byWilliam H. Wright
Written byFrances Marion (story)
Leonard Praskins (adaptation)
Martin Rackin (screenplay)
StarringRed Skelton
Jane Greer
Tim Considine
Music byDavid Rose
CinematographyPaul Vogel
Edited byGene Ruggiero
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
January 16, 1953 (US)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,099,000[1]


Dodo the Clown is a funny man with a serious drinking problem. His son Dink is amused by Dodo's act, but not so the circus owner who dismisses Dodo for having insulted a paying customer. Dodo also ruins a job audition by turning up drunk.

Dink asks if Goldie Goldenson, Dodo's old agent, can help. Goldie recalls the clown's great days from the Ziegfeld Follies so he promises to try. He also gives the boy $50, but Dodo doesn't want charity. Dodo does accept when an associate of Goldie offers a one-night engagement at the Ritz.

An enthusiastic Dodo goes to a pawn shop to retrieve his tuxedo plus a watch that Flo Ziegfeld gave him, which he presents to Dink as a gift. At the hotel that night, Goldie doesn't want Dodo performing because the part is that of a stooge, but Dodo goes through with the humiliation on stage.

In the audience are ex-wife Paula Henderson and her new husband Ralph, a successful businessman. Ralph goes backstage, where he says Paula would like to spend some time with her son, whom she abandoned after the divorce.

Dodo is given $200 by Ralph and promptly loses it in a dice game, as well as the watch, which he took while Dink was asleep. To get the watch back, Dodo takes a job in a strip club. When the club is raided by the police, Goldie must bail him out. The disgrace makes Dodo realize that Dink would be better off with Paula and Ralph, so he makes the boy go live with them. The part of the gambler who Dodo loses the watch to was played by Charles Bronson in an uncredited role.[2]

Goldie comes up with a great opportunity for a television show. Dink, unhappy with the Hendersons, is thrilled with Dodo's chance for a comeback, but while performing, Dodo gets dizzy and collapses on stage. When he dies, Dink obediently goes home with his mother.


Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $1,539,000 in the US and Canada and $560,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $437,000.[1]



  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. IMDB

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