Film: Bound By Flesh

Bound By Flesh

2012

95 minutes

January 29 at 6:30 p.m.

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This remarkable documentary tells the amazing story of Daisy and Violet Hilton, conjoined twins who rose to superstardom at the beginning of the 20th century as sideshow attractions, performing alongside the likes of Bob Hope and Charlie Chaplin. Ruthlessly exploited by their managers, the sisters ultimately sued for their freedom-which they won at a terrible cost. Bound By Flesh puts a touchingly human face on two outsiders who went from the lowest rungs of society to the big time and back again.

The American Sideshow

American sideshows were in fairs, circuses and carnivals. There were acts such as glass blowers, musicians, and also the freaks. Most freaks just stood there while the audience wondered past. The Hilton Sisters however were trained to put on an engaging act. They sang, they danced and played a variety of musical instruments. They were “hugely popular.”

Bound By Flesh explores the American sideshow, its origins and its heyday when the Hilton Sisters were on display for huge “streams” of crowds pouring into the tent to get a glimpse of these “fetching” sisters. The film includes interviews with Ward Hall, known as the “King of the Sideshow.” He is the last of the sideshow promoters in the style of a P.T. Barnum.