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Mike Ribble was once a great trapeze artist - and the only the sixth to have completed a triple somersault - before his accident. Tino joins the circus, and manages to convince Mike to teach him the 'triple'. Meanwhile Lola, a tumbler, wants to get in on the act.Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com>
Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis and Gina Lollabrigida star in "Trapeze," a 1956 film directed by Carol Reed and also starring Katy Jurado, Thomas Gomez and Johnny Puleo. Lancaster plays a former trapeze artist turned rigger, Mike Ribble, working in a Paris circus. A once great artist, he is grounded due to a permanent injury while doing his famous triple. He is approached by Tino Orsini (Tony Curtis), a talented aerialist who wants to learn the triple. Ribble sees the man's talent immediately, takes him on, and agrees to be his "grabber," the man who catches him mid-air. Problem arise when the beautiful, seductive user Lola (Gina Lollabrigida) who plays both men in order to be part of the act.
Director Reed gives the viewer the vivid experience of working in the circus and the resulting pressure cooker of relationships. The trapeze work is glorious, and there is plenty of it.
Lancaster has the major role, and he gives an excellent performance as a man with no illusions who, through Tino, dares to dream again. His muscular build is shown to great advantage as well. Curtis is excellent as the young, ambitious Tino who falls hard for Lola. Lollabrigida is gorgeous and sexy as the alluring Lola - she does a good job, but really, all she has to do is stand there and she IS the role. The supporting cast is solid, including Katy Jurado as an ex-girlfriend of Mike's and Thomas Gomez as the owner of the circus.
I don't have any figures, but I suspect this film was a big hit. It led to another Lancaster-Curtis collaboration, Sweet Smell of Success, so for that reason alone, it would be worth it. However, Trapeze flies on its own merits.
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