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I don’t talk much about those days.  Never did.  I don’t know why – I worked on circuses for nearly seven years & if that isn’t fodder for conversation I don’t know what is.

Actually I do know why: I never trusted myself.  I was afraid I’d let it slip.  I knew how important it was to keep her secret & keep it I did – for the rest of her life & then beyond.

In seventy years I never told a blessed soul.

Director:  Francis Lawrence

Producers: Gil Netter, Erwin Stoff & Andrew R. Tennenbaum
 
Screenplay: Richard LeGravanese (Adapted from the Novel by Sara Gruen)
 
Release date: 22 April 2011 (US)  12 May 2011 (Australia)

DVD release date:  12 October (Australia)

Rating:  M (Australia)

Role:  Jacob Jankowski

Costars: Reese Witherspoon (Marlena Rosenbluth), Christoph Waltz (August Rosenbluth), Hal Holbrook (Old Jacob Jankowski), Mark Povinelli (Kinko/Walter)

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SYNOPSIS

From Wikipedia:  Set during the Great Depression, Water for Elephants tells the story of a young man who leaves his life as a Cornell University veterinary student after losing both his parents in a car accident, and jumps onto a train that happens to house the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. After a short confrontation with Blackie, a bouncer that stops stowaways, and Camel (a limp old worker) promising him a job and an audience with Uncle Al (The Ringmaster) Jacob decides to stay aboard the train. Since his parents have died in an automobile accident, and he has no home to call his own, he decides to remain with the circus. Jacob is employed as the show’s veterinarian and he faces a number of challenges in dealing with the head trainer, August, while also learning how to function in the hierarchy of the circus and falling in love with August’s wife, Marlena. The story is told as a series of memories by Jacob Jankowski, a ninety or ninety-three year-old man who lives in a nursing home. As the memories begin, Jacob Jankowski is twenty-three years old and preparing for his final exams as a Cornell University veterinary student when he receives the news that his parents were killed in a car accident. Jacob’s father was a veterinarian and Jacob had planned to join his practice. When Jacob learns that his father was deeply in debt because he had been treating animals for free as well as mortgaging the family home to provide Jacob an Ivy League education, he has a breakdown and leaves school just short of graduation. In the dark of night, he jumps on a train only to learn it is a circus train. When the owner of the circus, Uncle Al, learns of his training as a vet, he is hired to care for the circus animals. The head trainer, August, is a brutal man who abuses the animals in his care as well as the people around him. Alternately, he can be utterly charming. Jacob develops a guarded relationship with August and his wife, Marlena, with whom Jacob falls in love with. August is suspicious of their relationship and beats Marlena and Jacob. Marlena subsequently leaves August, which is the precipitating event leading to the ultimate demise of the Benzini Brothers circus. As the story climaxes, several circus workers who were redlighted off the train come back and release the animals causing a stampede during the performance. (Redlighting refers to throwing circus workers off the moving train as punishment or in order to avoid paying them). In the ensuing panic, August is killed. As a result of this incident, which occurred during a circus performance, the circus is shut down. Marlena and Jacob leave, along with several circus animals, and begin their life together.

NOTE:  In the film, the characters of Uncle Al & August are merged into one.

 

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