The Biggest Show on Earth (1918)

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It may have been hard to picture pretty little Enid Bennett as a lion tamer, but that's one of the more winning aspects of this drama from producer Thomas Ince. Roxie Kemp (Bennett) works at a circus owned by her father, Nat (Melbourne MacDowell), but when she turns 17 she heads off for finishing school. She proves her mettle when she rescues a friend from a mad dog. Roxie also wins the heart of Owen Trent (Earl Rodney), but his snooty mother (Bliss Chevalier) refuses to even entertain the idea of them marrying. The Trents attend Kemp's circus, and when the lion tamer's performance falls flat and the audience threatens to turn into a rioting mob, Roxie steps in and does the act herself. The crowd cheers wildly, but Roxie is afraid that her impulsive action has lost her Owen. Just then it is revealed that his father (Carl Stockdale) is Nat's silent partner in the circus and he gives Roxie and Owen his blessings.