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What can we say about the big guy? He did his own stunts and this little film with Tony "Yonder's m'fadda's castle" Curtis [né Schwartz] and the lovely Ms. Lollobrigida, along with vet character actor Tom Gomez, delivers. Lots of fun. Lots of stunts. A reminder of a long gone era when movies had something to say. I remember seeing this one in San Francisco when it first aired. My date that evening was beautiful El Salvadorian who looked (nearly) as gorgeous as Gina. But, the film was so good, I stayed on my best behavior, much to her (and my) surprise. Ah, those were the days and this was a fun film to watch. The scene where Curtis and Lancaster walk home on their hands alone was worth the price of admission-- for both of us.
Almost a great circus movie, (if such a thing could exist), "Trapeze"
comes closer than most to capturing the tawdry excitement of the
milieu. While most circus pictures are aimed at kids this is aimed, if
not quite at adults, then at least at older kids. It's sexy and it
makes the whole business of being a trapeze artist seem like the
sexiest, most exciting thing in the world.
It's about the rivalry that can develop, both professionally and romantically, between artists and the director, Carol Reed, gives the film a charge that his more famous and infinitely more civilized films don't have. As the trio of artists who are almost consumed by their passions Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis and Gina Lolobrigida have an instinctive rapport. Lancaster and Curtis' performances here seem like a dry run for their work a year later in "Sweet Smell of Success" and Lolobrigida never looked or acted better. Although Lancaster wasn't young when he made this, he's like the biggest kid in the playground and seems to be having a hell of a time while Lolobrigida is a dynamic tease.
Actually I think Trapeze is a fairly decent depiction of a 1950s
European flyer's act. And I understand that Mr. Lancaster was an
acrobat whose career was ended due to injury prior to his becoming an
actor. So this may have enabled him to have a good feel for his role.
But I'm also a bit biased. I've been to a couple of circuses in Paris, which seemed to mirror the film's atmosphere and I actually met the actors who starred in this film.
In 1955 I was living on an American military base near Paris where Trapeze was being filmed. The USO hosted a gathering on base and Tony Curtis and Gina Lollabrigida appeared to promote the film and sign autographs. My older sisters got their photos taken with Mr. Curtis.
So naturally, whenever I catch this film on late night cable, I see it from a nostalgic point of view.
Curtis was young...Lancaster was in his prime.....The trapeze performances were stunning and despite the predictability of the story, Trapeze was a wonderful movie. Though a little "hokey" at times, and dated perhaps today, the warmth, sincerity, and circus-realism makes this a mild classic!
There were not many films made about the circus, but this one tops them
all by far. Much better than DeMille's melodramatic soap opera which
won an Oscar for Demille by default.
Getting back to Trapeze, this film combines a wonderful story with beautiful acting from the stars and supporting cast, and the photography of the aerial stunts will leave you felling as though you attended the circus in person. Lancaster who at one time actually performed in a circus act, gives a towering performance and Curtis and Lollabridgida are terrific as well. This is easily the gorgeous Gina'a best dramatic role, and we see that she was a very much underrated performer in her time.
Thomas Gomez and Katy Jurado are wonderful in support as are all the lesser players. This is a look at the real circus from inside. It's about the longings about real stars and the ways they attempt to achieve and hold on to that elusive stardom.
This film does not contain a dull moment and has a fantastic climax that will keep you glued, and on the edge of your seat as if you were sitting ringside.
It is somewhat a shame that this great film is not well known at this time and of course would never be mentioned on any top 100 or even 1,000 list, but long after Casablanca and Citizen Cane have been relegated to their rightful places in history, this film and many others will be truly recognized for the masterpieces that they are.
Lancaster,Curtis and Lollobrigida as a trio of trapeze flyers.Young
wants to learn the famous triple somersault from old vet Lancaster,who's
crippled from a fatal fall.In comes Lollobrigida making trouble for the
flyers both on the ground and in the air.
One of the most enjoyable films about life under the big top.The trio of stars deliver sock performances worthy of their star status.Carol Reed's direction of the triple somersault is breathtakingly staged.Don't miss this one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie by Carol Reed (director of such great movies as The Third
Man, Odd Man Out, The Key, and The Fallen Idol, who finally won the
Oscar for Best Director for his musical, "Oliver!"(a musical adaptation
of Oliver Twist) is simply superb.
Although this shares the circus setting as some others of the time, it's not primarily "about" the circus. It's a profound look at age, comeback, love (whether wanted or not), ambition. It's set in a dark and almost tawdry Paris of the mid-1950s, one that seems still tired and rather poor a dozen years after liberation.
The whole setting - and the love triangle - are fabulous yet realistic. This is a great bookend for An American in Paris - two entirely different images of Paris and France at the time.
The Burt Lancaster characterization is simply great - understated, powerful, moving - a man looking for a comeback, a last chance. Tony Curtis is also fine (I think Curtis has long been terribly underrated - he's a very good actor, wonderful in all kinds of parts from The Boston Strangler to Boeing, Boeing, from Sweet Smell of Success (with Lancaster again) to Some Like it Hot). Lollobrigida is great - a fine actress, yes unbelievably sexy but also just excellent at making us feel what her (desperate and cunning) character feels.
This is a great movie - amazingly set with a circus backdrop. I loved it. It's as good a depiction of post-war western Europe as can be imagined - in music, in light/shadow, in the fatigue you feel throughout. Watch it! You won't be disappointed.
In Trapeze Burt Lancaster finally realized an ambition to return to his
roots as a circus acrobat and do a film under the big top. When he and
Tony Curtis and Gina Lollobrigida are soaring through the air, Trapeze
is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately on the ground it's firmly fixed to
mediocrity with a very melodramatic triangle subplot.
Lancaster plays a once promising aerial artist who perfected the triple somersault in the air. But doing it once too often shattered his career along with his leg. Lancaster now works as a rigger for Thomas Gomez's circus.
But one day when young Tony Curtis, a would be Trapeze artist comes to the circus seeking out Lancaster, Burt recognizes the talent that is there after some initial misgivings. He agrees to become Curtis's catcher and teach him the tricks of Trapeze trade.
What complicates things is goldigging Gina Lollobrigida a jack of all the circus trades who desperately wants to get to America. She's an old girl friend of Lancaster, but sees in Curtis her meal ticket. He's after all the one with the talent and the young reflexes. Lancaster's wise to her, but she does get the old hormones going in Burt.
Seeing Lancaster doing his own trapeze stunts is quite a marvel, but in fact it was his old trade. I'm sure being the producer of Trapeze helped because if this had been a studio production the bean counters in the front office would have been going out of their minds at seeing their big star risking life and limb.
Katy Jurado has a nice if somewhat undefined role as a bareback rider who also has an old time yen for Burt. Thomas Gomez is quite the schemer as the owner who naturally wants to keep the act intact and working for him and not going to a bigger show. That bigger show is Ringling Brothers,Barnum&Bailey circus in America and Minor Watson plays the real life John Ringling North.
Unfortunately for Trapeze, Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show On Earth set an impossible standard for circus pictures. Maybe if it had concentrated on the aerial and left the romance alone, Trapeze would be better thought of today.
Next year Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis teamed for Sweet Smell of Success. Now that's the film the two will be better remembered by far.
Enjoyed this great 1956 Classic film starring Burt Lancaster, (Mike Riddle) who gave an outstanding performance as an experienced trapeze artist. In real life, Burt left Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in his second year and decided to join a circus and traveled all around performing on the high wires. As Burt's movie career became successful, he had the opportunity to make this picture which he had longed to do for many years. Burt teams up with Tony Curtis, (Tino Orsini) who gave a great supporting role along with the beautiful Gina Lollobrigida, (Lola) who added her great charm to this picture and had two men fighting over her for her love. Thomas Gomez,(Bouglione) was the circus manager and gave an outstanding performance to his role as a man who ran his circus with an iron fist. This is a great picture with great veteran actors, enjoy.
Trapeze" is the first movie I saw Burt Lancaster in. I was amazed by his "physical" performance (I learned afterwards that he used to work in a circus as an acrobat). The pretty Gina Lollobrigida plays the game of love with young Tony Curtis and Lancaster. I like also this film because it shows well the atmosphere of the circus. (7/10)
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