Jumbo, the musical theater-cum-circus extravaganza with a score by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart that producer Billy Rose staged in the cavernous Hippodrome in New York in 1935, took 27 years to be adapted into a motion picture by MGM, and when it was, the script had been replaced with a typical boy-meets-girl (meets elephant!) plot. But half of Rodgers & Hart's score was retained, including the standards "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," "My Romance," and "Little Girl Blue," as was Jimmy Durante, the star of the stage show. The star of the film, however, was Doris Day, in her first movie musical in five years (and her last). Day handled the songs well, especially the interpolations "Why Can't I?," a duet with Martha Raye borrowed from Rodgers & Hart's Spring Is Here, and "This Can't Be Love," lifted from the songwriters' The Boys From Syracuse. Male lead Stephen Boyd's singing was dubbed by the uncredited James Joyce on "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," and the lengthy closing production number, "Sawdust, Spangles and Dreams (Finale)," was really the work of longtime MGM musical director Roger Edens, though it was credited to Rodgers since it was built out of his musical themes. (The words are by Edens, not Hart, who had died 20 years earlier.) Hopelessly dated but enjoyable nevertheless, both the film and soundtrack were modest commercial successes.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann