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Man on a Tightrope (1953)

7.1
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Reviews: 21 user | 3 critic

Czech circus owner-Clown and his entire troupe employ a daring stratagem in order to escape en masse from behind the iron curtain.

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Title: Man on a Tightrope (1953)

Man on a Tightrope (1953) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Karel Cernik
...
Tereza Cernik
...
Zama Cernik
...
Joe Vosdek
...
Fesker
...
Barovic
Alexander D'Arcy ...
Rudolph (as Alex D'Arcy)
...
Krofta
Pat Henning ...
Konradin
Paul Hartman ...
Jaremir
...
The Chief
Edit

Storyline

Czech circus owner-Clown and his entire troupe employ a daring stratagem in order to escape en masse from behind the iron curtain.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

circus | communism

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 June 1953 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Cirque en révolte  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marlene Dietrich turned down the role that eventually went to Gloria Grahame. See more »

Goofs

When Fredric March is being interrogated, the inkwell in front of him is uncovered, when the camera switches between him & his interrogator, the inkwell's cover is on. See more »

Quotes

Rudolph: [to Cernik] The curse of my life is that I'm a handsome man.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Masters: None Without Sin (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Light Cavalry Overture
(uncredited)
Music by Franz von Suppé
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The rare sleeper, a hidden gem
24 July 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sleeper classics are rare. Esthetics do not change, but politics do. This movie has a political message -- that communism is horrible, and that life under communism is bare existence. That was not enough for the McCarthy Era, and this movie falls short of the standard anti-communist diatribe of its kind. The view of someone like Vaclav Havel that communism was mere degradation of people and the imposition of an absurd order was not "hard-line" enough for the McCarthy Era.

This movie shows a more subtle critique of communism than the usual apocalyptic view of saber-rattling generals and madman tyrants. Czechoslovakia could have been the shopfront for communism because it wasn't as ravaged by World War II as were some other countries, and the Soviets didn't treat it as a conquered province grafted onto its empire. The country was prosperous before World War II and had a democratic government for twenty years after World War I. Even in Czechoslovakia, the communists imposed one degradation after another upon the people while promoting itself with demagogic rhetoric that communism was the desire of the working man -- except that nobody had the right to say "no" anymore. The communists nationalized Cernik's circus, only to pay him a very generous salary as compensation as a manager of a state enterprise; then they made the money worthless through currency "reforms" that pauperized all but the communists and enriched the communists. Sudden horror and slow degradation lead to the same misery, only at different rates.

Politics aside, this is a good adventure film with some comic elements as the circus crew fights among itself to seek escape from the madhouse (note that Milos Forman said that his image of an asylum for the insane was much like his native Czechoslovakia in comments on "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

Too subtle for the 1950's, it got lost. In the cable-TV era "movie archive" channels try out some lost movies and occasionally find a gem. This one is a gem.


25 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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