The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music. That is the Golden Triumvirate of Hollywood Children's Musicals.
A great melodrama, and still hugely powerful after all these years. Here's some extended thoughts:
1. This movies was made and released in the pre-code era, at the height of Hollywood's excess period, and produced by MGM, the most lavish studio that ever was. How surprising is it, then, that the scenes where we see the "freaks" go about their daily life in the carnival read so unspectacular and naturalistic.
2. Consider the ending of the movie, and what eventually…
A missed opportunity. A great story neutered into mediocrity.