Man on a Tightrope (1953)
With considerable dramatic embellishment, Man on a Tightrope is a fact-based account of a tiny family-run Czech circus troupe that managed to safely cross the Iron Curtain to Austria. The trouble begins after the communists overtake Czechoslovakia. Before that, the circus thrived, but then the communists force all the young performers into the military leaving the patriarch with no way to maintain his equipment. The authorities then take away ownership and force him to change the acts to support Party philosphies and forces them to perform for the benefit of the state. This deeply angers the proprietor, but he keeps silent and bides his time. Meanwhile he also tries to keep his strong-willed daughter from getting further involved with the aimless lion tamer while also dealing with his disillusioned wife who thinks her husband a coward for not fighting the regime and its arbitrary rules. It doesn't help that someone in the troupe is a communist spy. Eventually, the troupe begins performing near the Bavarian border and it is there that the courageous, selfless ringmaster makes his exciting final stand while the others flee to safety. Man on a Tightrope was filmed on location in Bavaria and utilized acts from the Birnbach Circus. … More
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Critic Reviews for Man on a Tightrope
Audience Reviews for Man on a Tightrope
Fredric March leads his small circus troupe in a daring escape from Soviet occupied Czechoslovakia.
Say what you want about Elia Kazan and his shameful role in Joseph McCarthy's witch-hunt, the man could direct with the best of 'em. Man on a Tightrope could have easily become cliché ridden propagandistic tripe but Kazan has crafted it into something of substance.
...and nobody but nobody plays an opportunistic slut like the magnificent Miss Gloria Grahame!
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